Salvo 10.16.2023 4 minutes

When Lawfare Threatens, Americans Need Courage Under Fire

Mountaineer offers helping hand to teammate, mtns

A new America First organization steps into the fray.

The promise of America—what makes us different from corrupt and autocratic regimes around the world—has always been our courts. The American commitment to blind justice and the rule of law has prevented our society—and our politics—from becoming a winner-take-all battle between rival factions and their thugs.

But now, following the tumultuous 2020 election, this long détente seems to be over. The judicial system has been blatantly weaponized against former public officials, attorneys, and others merely for having exercised their constitutional right of free speech.

Those targeted include former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Assistant Attorney General Jeff Clark, who are now undergoing costly legal battles for their efforts—in proper exercise of their authority and full compliance with the law—to expose voter fraud and election rigging. Several other former officials from the Trump Administration, federal departments and agencies, as well as other groups have been similarly targeted in an obviously politicized manner. Many of these individuals lack the means to hire adequate defense attorneys.

This worrying trend led us to establish a defensive base for Americans who find themselves singled out by radical left-wing operatives for persecution: an organization called Personnel Policy Operations (PPO). We initially launched PPO with the goal of providing a long-term support system for conservative, America First civil servants. Our name is dedicated to the axiom that “Personnel is Policy.” It additionally shares its acronym with the White House Presidential Personnel Office, where several of those involved once served diligently.

After beginning with educational, networking, and legal defense operations in 2022, we soon realized that we would need to greatly expand our base of support to make a firm response to the recent distortions of American justice. This year, PPO established the Courage Under Fire Legal Defense Fund. The Fund’s mission is to provide legal support for America First public servants who are targeted by the Left, especially through these unprecedented and aggressive “lawfare” tactics. When the Left selectively exploits bias in certain courts and abuses the law for political warfare, we confront these malicious activists and make every effort to block their stratagems.

These growing lawfare tactics serve no legitimate purpose. Attempts to undermine the professional status of America First attorneys and subject them to criminal prosecution are cynical punishments directed at public servants for exercising their constitutional rights. More than just their rights, these individuals rightly fulfilled their obligation as patriotic citizens to question and investigate extensive allegations of irregularities, fraud, and constitutional violations surrounding the 2020 election.

For pursuing truth, they have faced sustained assaults on their personal and professional lives through a weaponized, two-tiered injustice system that seeks to crush legitimate political dissent and the free speech of those seen as political dissidents. These baseless attacks criminalize ordinary, constitutionally-protected advocacy by taking punitive action against anyone who offers public criticism or speculation about election integrity.

When the legal process becomes a costly punishment, intended to financially ruin those who voice dissent and seek redress through legal means, it threatens and intimidates others from following their patriotic example. Consider the situation faced by a young person in their 20s who has been targeted by the Left’s lawfare machine. They will rack up tens of thousands of dollars in pressing legal fees, even if they are fortunate enough to hire a reputable lawyer. Their career is completely derailed, and they are left vulnerable to radical prosecutors seeking to make examples of them. The goal, of course, is to deter others from exercising their First Amendment rights as free Americans. 

The lawfare shock troops of the political Left are also hoping these prosecutions (and possible bankruptcies) will serve as a deterrent to future public service on the political Right. Others who might join campaigns, engage in free speech critical of the government, or work to build institutions that protect the American way of life might become too afraid to do so.

PPO’s Courage Under Fire Legal Defense Fund will serve as a hub for those who need legal support against these attacks on the First Amendment and constitutionally-protected speech. We have been providing legal support for the past year and a half, but the Left’s lawfare attacks have only become more intense. The Jack Smith probe and others have taken increasingly aggressive steps of legal action against even ancillary targets among their political rivals.

It is imperative to show solidarity with these public servants and make known to all patriotic Americans facing lawfare that we have their backs. When the Left sends its apparatchiks to inflict financial devastation on our best fighters, to take them off the playing field by forcing them to defend themselves, we must form a united front.

The message of the Courage Under Fire Legal Defense Fund is simple. We will not be demoralized. We will not shrink from service. We will not stop telling the truth. We are still standing, and we invite all Americans to join us in this time of urgent need.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

Suggested reading

to the newsletter