A rapidly growing Facebook group falsely accusing Democrats of “scheming” to steal the election with a plot to “nullify Republican votes” appears to be part of a coordinated campaign by Republican operatives, and has ties to the tea party.
The “Stop the Steal” group on Facebook, which was only created on Wednesday but already has almost 300,000 members (and is growing quickly), prompts new users to its page to navigate to a website off of Facebook to sign up for email updates “in the event that social media censors this group.”
The domain that the group pushes its members to, StolenElection.us, is registered to the Liberty Lab, a firm that offers digital services to various conservative clients, according to its website, and Scott Graves, who lists himself as the firm’s president on LinkedIn.
It’s unclear if Graves and the Liberty Lab are running the site alone or were hired by a client. According to its website, the Liberty Lab has been employed by a range of organizations, with a notable track record of working on Republican projects, including Newt Gingrich’s 2012 campaign, a push to recall California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, and several pro-Trump projects.
The Facebook group and the website also appear to be linked to Women for America First, a group organized in 2019 to protest against Donald Trump’s impeachment. In StolenElection.us’s html code, “Women for America First” shows up repeatedly. Facebook displays a header on the “Stop the Steal” Facebook page showing that it was created by the “Women for America First” Facebook page.
Women for America First is a nonprofit co-founded and led by Amy Kremer, a former tea party activist. Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer wrote about Kremer and her work boosting Republicans last year:
A former Delta flight attendant who calls herself one of the “founding mothers” of the tea party movement, Kremer was the longtime chief executive of the Tea Party Express, which organized bus tours across the country and worked on a variety of campaigns in 2010 and 2012 to help Republicans retake Congress. One of the best known tea party groups, the Tea Party Express was also well known for being run by a political action committee that raised tons of money from small donors and spent most of it on the political consultants who started the PAC rather than on candidates.
While the tea party did turn out large amounts of conservatives, it was famously the result of a successful astroturf campaign spearheaded by wealthy conservatives, including the Koch brothers.