President Biden’s Team Cuts Ties with Marc Elias
President Joe Biden’s team has cut ties with Marc Elias, Axios reported on Monday, with sources accusing the Democratic superlawyer of ”grandstanding.”
The sources anonymously described Elias as an obnoxious self-promoter who overcharges for services that are of dubious legal value if not counterproductive. Elias’s ouster from the president’s circle came just a few months after the Democratic National Committee fired him, citing “strategic disagreements.”
“Biden’s team, long guided by lawyer Bob Bauer, is concerned that while Elias’ approach may be emotionally satisfying and make for good headlines, it can backfire with the current conservative makeup of the judiciary,” Axios reported. “Beyond the philosophical disagreements, Biden’s team became fed up with Elias during the first two years of the administration.”
“Marc was the DNC’s counsel and he was consistently giving them and the president’s team the middle finger,” one source said.
“Marc has created a legal strategy he has convinced people is a political strategy, that it is actually [sic] a business strategy,” said another.
“Elias often did not consult the DNC or the White House before filing lawsuits affecting voting rights and election laws in key states and at times disregarded their concerns with cases, Democrats familiar with the internal deliberations said,” according to Axios. “Biden officials found out Elias had filed some lawsuits only when he announced them—often on MSNBC or Twitter.”
“It is ultimately our clients’ decision if and when to provide notice of a lawsuit to others,” a spokesperson for Elias’s law firm told Axios.
For his work on the 2020 election, the DNC and the Biden campaign paid Elias’s law firm, Perkins Coie, more than $20 million. So far in this cycle, the DNC has shelled out at least $1.9 million to Elias’s new law firm, the Washington Free Beacon reported after the DNC canned Elias in April.
The Free Beacon also reported at the time on Elias’s string of scandals:
Elias and his roster of loser clients have been at the center of Democrats’ biggest scandals in recent years. John Fetterman’s U.S. Senate campaign tapped the dirty-tricks specialist in November to push Pennsylvania to accept undated mail-in ballots in a bid to boost the stroke survivor’s vote count. Earlier in 2022, Elias joined the legal team of Andrew Gillum, the disgraced Florida gubernatorial candidate who withdrew from politics after police found him passed out and full of drugs in a hotel room.
As a lawyer for the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, Elias hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS to compile a dossier on Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. The dossier, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, has been largely debunked since its release in 2017. The Federal Election Commission last year fined the DNC and Clinton campaign a total of $113,000 for improperly earmarking the dossier in campaign finance disclosures as “legal expenses” instead of opposition research.
Elias was not fined in the FEC case, but he has racked up other controversies.
A Texas appeals court sanctioned Elias in 2021 for “misleading” statements he made to overturn a ban on straight-ticket ballot options.
In a lawsuit that same year, Elias claimed without evidence that New York’s voting machines were compromised in a race between his client, Anthony Brindisi, and Rep. Claudia Tenney (R.). A federal judge blasted Elias’s legal argument as a “Hail Mary pass” before tossing the lawsuit.
Elias in 2021 unsuccessfully pressured House Democrats to overturn Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’s (R., Iowa) win over his client, Rita Hart. The Washington Free Beacon reported Elias represented the Virginia-based political action committee that falsely posed as a conservative group in ads criticizing Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin (R.) over his stance on gun rights.
Elias represents a slew of Democratic candidates, super PACs, and political committees. He specializes in litigation on behalf of candidates in ballot recounts and in lawsuits to shape voting laws in ways favorable to Democrats. Elias, for example, has sued numerous times to block voter ID legislation.
Democrats’ committees for House, Senate, and state legislative races have continued to rely on Elias, and, despite the Biden team’s scathing leaks to Axios, the president could turn to the dirty-tricks specialist again in a pinch.
According to Axios, “some in Biden’s orbit expect him to be heavily involved in recounts” after the 2024 election.
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