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Ron Johnson lied
Text messages released by the January 6 Committee last week revealed that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) tried to deliver a list of fake electors directly to former Vice President Mike Pence. This was part of a broader scheme to use Pence's ceremonial role overseeing the certification of the Electoral College to install Trump for a second term.
Johnson's spokesperson, in a statement posted to Twitter, claimed Johnson had "no involvement" in the scheme and "no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office."
In an interview last Tuesday outside the Capitol building, Johnson reiterated that his office was simply "handed an envelope" by a House intern that was "supposed to go to the Vice President."
"Was that the first you heard of it? When you received the envelope?" Johnson was asked by a reporter. "Yeah," Johnson replied, describing the delivery of the envelope as a "staff-to-staff" deal. "I had no hand in any of it," Johnson insisted. "I was not involved in this at all."
In a separate interview last Tuesday, Johnson claimed he was "basically unaware" of what was going on.
As it turns out, all of this was a lie.
In an interview Thursday with WIBA-AM, Johnson "acknowledged he coordinated with Dane County [Wisconsin] attorney Jim Troupis and his chief of staff by text message that morning to get to Pence a document." According to Johnson, "Troupis contacted [Johnson] by text message on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, to get a document on 'Wisconsin electors' to Pence."
Johnson also promoted a sympathetic story about the his involvement published by right-wing journalist John Solomon, which includes the text he received from Troupis:
Troupis "represented Trump in recounts of the liberal Dane and Milwaukee counties and sought to throw out tens of thousands of ballots to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election." Troupis was attempting to deliver the names of ten Republicans "who convened at the Wisconsin State Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020" and "signed paperwork falsely claiming to be presidential electors for Trump."Johnson is friendly with Troupis, knew about his activities to overturn the election and why he would want to deliver fake "electors" to Pence.
Six minutes after receiving the text from Troupis, Johnson introduced Troupis to his Chief of Staff to facilitate the exchange of information:
After an hour, Johnson let Troupis know that the Vice President wouldn't accept the envelope:
This directly contradicts Johnson's earlier claims that he had "no hand in any of it" and the discussions around the document were "staff-to-staff."
Johnson also said that the document with the fake Trump electors originated with the office of Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA). Kelly's office said that was a lie. "Senator Johnson's statements about Representative Kelly are patently false," a spokesperson for Kelly said. "Mr. Kelly has not spoken to Sen. Johnson for the better part of a decade, and he has no knowledge of the claims Mr. Johnson is making related to the 2020 election."
According to Solomon's story, "a Trump campaign official asked Kelly to get an 'alternate slate' of electors to Pence. Kelly then called Troupis, who then texted Johnson, according to the story."
Despite Johnson's apparent involvement in a plot to subvert the election results by delivering a slate of fake electors to Pence, his reelection campaign is supported by major corporations. As Popular Information previously reported, Johnson's corporate PAC supporters include FedEx, Charter Communications, Chevron, Experian, Honeywell, Koch Industries, Home Depot, Kraft Heinz, and UPS.
The January 6 Committee hastily scheduled a hearing on Tuesday "to present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony." The topic of the hearing is unknown.
The Pepsi mystery, solved
Last Tuesday, Popular Information reported that Pepsi was a sponsor of the 2022 Texas Republican Convention. This was significant because, during the convention, the Texas GOP produced a platform that, among other things, called LGBTQ people "abnormal" and called for the repeal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
After publication, Pepsi contacted Popular Information and flatly denied that it was a sponsor. But what about the signs displayed in the convention hall that listed Pepsi as a sponsor? Pepsi suggested that the photos of the signs published by Popular Information had "been altered to include our name." Pepsi's denial was the topic of last Wednesday's newsletter.
But we continued to report out the story. Among other things, we located a copy of the convention program, which clearly listed Pepsi as a sponsor.
We sent this additional evidence to Pepsi last week and a spokesperson sent us the following statement:
Neither PepsiCo nor any of our brands have sponsored any state political conventions in 2022. Our last contributions to both parties in Texas were in 2020 to support the National Convention delegations of the Texas State Republican and Texas State Democratic parties. Our understanding is that the party decided to recognize donations from previous years on signage at this year’s convention.
Pepsi's $15,000 donation to the Texas Republican Party was reported to the Texas Ethics Commission in August 2021. Pepsi told Popular Information that it made the donation in the summer of 2020 but the check was never cashed. Pepsi reissued the check sometime in 2021.