State will investigate Mark Meadows voter registration as district attorney recuses herself
Former NC-11 Republican Congressman and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has remained adamant that voters cast fraudulent ballots during the 2020 General Election, but after revelations about his voter registration came to light earlier this month, it appears Meadows wasn’t just talking about Chinese cybercriminals using thermostats to hack voting machines or an Italian satellite changing votes from outer space — he may have actually been talking about himself and his wife.
Now that the local district attorney has recused herself from the case, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the matter.
“After careful consideration and review of the North Carolina State Bar Rules, I feel that my office has a conflict of interest pursuant to North Carolina State Bar rule 1.7 resulting in the recusal of my office,” said Ashley Hornsby Welch, district attorney for the 43rd Prosecutorial District in a March 14 letter to Leslie Dismukes, a prosecutor with the North Carolina Department of Justice. The letter was released by Welch’s office just after 4 p.m. on March 17.
Allegations against Meadows first came to light in a March 6 story by Charles Bethea in The New Yorker:
“On September 19th, about three weeks before North Carolina’s voter-registration deadline for the general election, Meadows filed his paperwork,”
Bethea wrote. “On a line that asked for his residential address — ‘where you physically live,’ the form instructs — Meadows wrote down the address of a fourteen-by-sixty-two-foot mobile home in Scaly Mountain. He listed his move-in date for this address as the following day, September 20th.”
Meadows’ voter registration still lists the McConnell Road address in Macon County, but the story goes on to say that Meadows doesn’t own the 1.1-acre property, and there’s no proof he’d ever spent the night in the $34,000 trailer there.
His voting history shows he cast his March 3, 2020 Republican Primary Election ballot in Transylvania County, but voted absentee by mail in the Nov. 3 General Election using the McConnell Road address.
Meadows’ wife, Deborah P. Meadows, has a the exact same voting history . She cast her March 3, 2020 Republican Primary Election ballot in Transylvania County, registered at the McConnell Road address on Sept. 19 with her husband and then cast her General Election ballot in person at one of Macon County’s one-stop sites during the early voting period, using the McConnell Road address.
Providing false information to vote in a federal election is a federal crime.
District Attorney Welch, also a Republican, said in her letter to Dismukes that she was requesting the state’s attorney general to “handle both the advisement of law enforcement agencies as to any criminal investigation as well as any potential prosecution of Mark Meadows.”
Welch said she was alerted to the allegations against Meadows by the media and wasn’t aware of any allegations prior.
The basis for her recusal, according to the letter, is that then-Congressman Meadows had made a financial contribution to her 2014 campaign and also appeared in advertisements supporting her candidacy.
Meadows (left), then-chief of staff to then-President Donald Trump, chats with the crowd prior to a Trump campaign event in Mills River in August, 2020. Cory Vaillancourt photo
State Board of Elections campaign finance records show that Meadows’s campaign committee made a $1,000 donation to Welch’s campaign on Sept. 29, 2014.
“The allegations in this case involve potential crimes committed by a government official,” Welch wrote. “Historically I have requested the attorney general’s office to handle prosecutions involving alleged misconduct of government officials. It is in the best interest of justice and the best interest of the people of North Carolina that the attorney general’s office handles the prosecution of this case.”
Raleigh television station WRAL was first to report that Attorney General Josh Stein said through a spokesperson that his office had asked the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation to look into the matter of Mark Meadows’s registration.
Deborah Meadows is not a government official, nor has she made any contributions to Welch’s campaigns. Although Deborah isn’t mentioned in Welch’s recusal letter, Welch told The Smoky Mountain News on March 20 that because the set of facts are essentially the same for both Mark and Deborah Meadows – and because it would be difficult to separate the two cases – that she’s under the assumption that Stein’s office will also investigate and prosecute Debbie Meadows, if necessary.
On March 14, the Charlotte News & Observer drew comparisons between Meadows and Hoke County resident Lanisha Jones, who in 2019 was charged with felony voter fraud for voting in the 2016 General Election.
At the time, Jones was a felon on probation and thus unable to vote per state law, despite encountering no resistance from elections officials while registering. Jones said she didn’t know she couldn’t vote.
In 2017, Haywood County resident Dewey Gidcumb was convicted of felony voter fraud for voting in the 2016 Republican Primary Election at an early voting site and then showing up at the polls on Election Day and voting again. Gidcumb received 12 months of probation and 24 hours of community service and said it was a “mistake.”
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Voter fraud indeed. Meadows knew it from personal experience, which likely gave him the confidence he sought to repeat the false "stolen election" accusation. He's one of a handful of citizens who committed the crime. Prosecution is warranted.
It would be great if the AG's office did its job. It has refused to do so when the Ag was opposed politically to what he would defend. Under those circumstances, he either does the job he was elected to do, or he resigns. Meadows may have done something illegally, and if so, he should get the sanctions that he deserves for doing it. But having teh AG's office involved, when he has refused to his job previously, is simply foolish.