Pence aide says he has no evidence Ron Johnson was involved in fake elector scheme
Marc Short, former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff who was in the role on Jan. 6, 2021, said he had no reason to believe that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was personally involved in attempts to hand a list of fake electors to Pence in order to overturn election results the former vice president was overseeing.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack displayed a text exchange during one of its public hearings last week showing that Johnson’s chief of staff texted Chris Hodgson, Pence’s then-director of legislative affairs, on that day saying the senator had an alternate slate of electors for Michigan and Wisconsin and needed to give them to Pence.
Short told CBS “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan that the scheme was a staff-to-staff conversation, reiterating comments Johnson made on the matter himself.
“I have no reason to believe that the senator was directly involved,” Short said, adding that he advised Hodgson to ensure the list would not be delivered to Pence.
The incident has embroiled Johnson in controversy as he faces questions about how much he knew of the scheme.
Hours after the revelation, the senator said on Tuesday that he was “basically unaware” of the scheme but the next day declined to say whether he had authorized his aide to hand the list of electors to Pence or whether he knew of his aide’s plan beforehand.
A spokeswoman for Johnson said on Tuesday that the senator “had no foreknowledge” that the elector list was going to be delivered to his office.
“I have no reason to know that Ron Johnson was behind that or not,” Short said on CBS. “It was a staff-to-staff conversation.”
But Short added that the Senate parliamentarian has received fake elector lists in past elections and said it was not “necessarily shocking at that stage of events.”
“This happens every cycle. The members send in separate fake sets of electors every time, every four years,” Short said. “But they come into the archives of the parliamentarian, and they dismiss them if they’re not certified. It’s kind of meaningless.”