Clinton Lawyer Behind Latest Media Attack on Sen. Johnson

Democrat lawyer Marc Elias is at the center of an ecosystem that exists to attack Sen. Ron Johnson, as proven by a coordinated smear campaign orchestrated by Wisconsin Democrats and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. A partner in Elias’ law firm was quoted in a May 26 Journal-Sentinel article attacking Johnson, even though the firm has a financial interest in defeating the senator since it has done work for two of Johnson’s Democrat opponents in the 2022 election cycle. The financial relationship between the two Democrat candidates and the Elias law firm was not disclosed in the news story. 

In the article, the Journal-Sentinel attempted to attack Johnson for being appropriately reimbursed for travel in accordance with Senate rules. The truth is that Sen. Johnson has never been reimbursed for travel to visit family in Florida but has been reimbursed for returning for official business to the Capitol with approval from the Senate Rules Committee.

Since Sen. Tammy Baldwin has been similarly reimbursed for travel, but not targeted by Wisconsin media, it’s important to examine the story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for clues to the origin of the malicious report.

The story in question includes a quote from Jacquelyn Lopez, a partner with the Elias Law Group. Founded by Democrat lawyer Marc Elias, the firm has done legal work for both Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Sarah Godlewski, who are two Democrats vying to challenge Johnson in November’s election. The Elias Law Group is also linked to massive far-left dark money groups which have conspired to attack Johnson in Wisconsin. 

Here are the facts:

  • The Elias Law Firm, which was founded last year by Democrat lawyer and former Hillary Clinton aide Marc Elias, has established itself as a leading defender and beneficiary of the left’s massive dark money network.
  • In February 2022, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Democrat Senate candidate Mandela Barnes, who claims to “stand up to the corrupting influence of dark money,” contracted with the Elias Group. The Barnes campaign paid the firm over $50,000 from December 2021 to March 2022.
  • On December 10, 2021, Democrat Senate candidate Sarah Godlewski’s campaign paid Elias Law Group $19,041.50 for legal services.
  • The May 26 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story attacking Sen. Johnson featured a quote from a partner in the Elias Law Group, which has done legal work for both Barnes and Godlewski in the 2022 election cycle.
  • During the 2020 cycle, Elias’ previous firm, Perkins Coie, received nearly $70 million from Democratic campaign and progressive organizations. Marc Elias has since become something of a “celebrity lawyer” for progressives, amassing more than 600k Twitter followers.
  • Elias incorporated Majority Forward, the dark money group tied to Senate Majority PAC, that is spending millions against Sen. Johnson. On May 10, 2022, Majority Forward released its first 2022 ad against Sen. Johnson, part of a $2.7 million advertising campaign. On May 25, 2022, Majority Forward told Axios it was booking an additional $3.6 million in Wisconsin airtime, on top of the $2.7 million already spent. 
  • In May 2022, Elias, a top lawyer on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, testified in the Michael Sussman trial about “his hiring of a private research firm to turn up damaging information about Trump.” Elias said he retained Fusion GPS to assist him in representing both the Clinton campaign and the DNC as they explored Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. 

“This is a slimy smear job with a sleazy Democrat lawyer at the center of it, and the largest newspaper in Wisconsin either just played along or was too lazy to check if the lawyer had a financial relationship with the Democrat candidates the story was intended to benefit. Journalists should uphold the truth, not participate in coordinated political attacks with people who have a monetary interest in the outcome of an election. Most people don’t trust the media or lawyers, and this sorry episode is further proof of why that is.” – Dylan Lefler, Campaign Manager for Sen. Ron Johnson