Skip to main content

An aide to Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson attempted to hand off fake, pro-Trump electors from Johnson to Mike Pence prior to the then-vice president counting electoral votes.

Revealed in video and live testimony, Sean Riley told Pence's legislative director Chris Hodgson that Johnson wanted to hand Pence lists of the fake electors from Michigan and Wisconsin for Pence to introduce during the counting of electoral votes that certified Joe Biden's win on Jan. 6, 2021.

The bombshell was disclosed during the fourth day of a public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee on Tuesday. The attempt was discovered through text messages.

Johnson had "planned to object to accepting electors in states where he said the results were in dispute." During the hearing it was revealed that Johnson signed on to the objection of Arizona's electors prior to the Jan. 6 assault on Congress by Trump supporters, and then voted to accept the same electors later. Two other GOP Wisconsin congressmen accepted the state's votes while Johnson never did, nor did he object to them.

The text conversation on Jan. 6 goes as follows, as revealed during the hearing:

“Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise,” Riley texted Hodgson.

“What is it?” Hodgson replied.

“Alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn’t receive them,” Riley wrote back.

Hodgson responded: “Do not give that to him.”

In late November 2021, Johnson told Wisconsin Public Radio that he believed that state lawmakers should "take over control" of federal elections in the state because he "completely lost confidence" in the state elections agency. 

Johnson's spokeswoman, Alexa Henning, downplayed the texts after they were publicly revealed. However, Henning didn't deny that Johnson wanted to hand-deliver the slate of fake electors to Pence.

“The senator had no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office,” Henning tweeted. “This was a staff to staff exchange. His new Chief of Staff contacted the Vice President’s office. The Vice President’s office said not to give it to him and we did not. There was no further action taken. End of story.”

In March, the state's bipartisan elections commission declined to punish the fake electors. The outcome stated that "no election laws had been violated," the Associated Press reports. A liberal law firm is now suing the fake electors, seeking $2.4 million in damages.

The discovery further details the attempt made by President Donald Trump and his GOP allies to lean on Pence to make a push towards presenting false results of the election. The investigation showed that Trump pushed the Republican National Committee to help identify and coordinate fake slates of electors.

According to newly revealed video of RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel's testimony to the committee, Trump called McDaniel and handed the phone to attorney John Eastman, an architect of Trump's plan to remain in power. Politico reports that "Eastman urged her to help identify fake electors to meet and cast votes for Trump when the legitimate members of the Electoral College were required to meet and vote on Dec. 14, 2020."

No state legislature responded to Trump's request, which made Pence reject the plan as well.

Many political figures are now calling for Johnson to resign from his position. Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes tweeted that Johnson's "hypocrisy knows no bounds" and that he's "a danger to democracy."

"I would say it's unbelievable that Ron Johnson tried to overturn the election with fake elector information. But those of us in Wisconsin can believe it just fine," Barnes said in another tweet. "He has always lied and cheated to serve his own interests."

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, who called for Johnson to be subpoenaed to testify before the Jan. 6 select committee, called Johnson "a seditious traitor." He noted that it "goes beyond anything I could have imagined for how far Ron Johnson would go to overturn our Wisconsin election result."

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-16 at 8.44.12 AM

Pair wanted for questioning for assault, property crimes in Hugo

Surveillance footage was released by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Screen Shot 2022-08-11 at 2.49.44 PM

15,000 Minnesota nurses 'overwhelmingly' authorize strike

Overworked and underpaid, the Minnesota Nurses Association is ready to strike.

School dinners lunch

Minnesota to offer free school meals to 90,000 extra students

Gov. Tim Walz, who is facing re-election in November, announced the measure on Monday.


Minneapolis man dies from injuries days after motorcycle pileup

The 69-year-old died after four days at Regions Hospital.

Sebastion Wolbersen-O’Hara

Police: 15-year-old missing from home north of Twin Cities

Authorities say he may be headed to the metro.


Foundation, the building, the win

Identifying Value Plus Catalysts helps your financial strategy and foundation

boating minnesota lake

25-year-old Hopkins man drowns after falling off boat

The man reportedly fell from the boat while fishing with friends.

mayor frey city minneapolis live stream march 14 2022

What's in Mayor Jacob Frey's budget proposal?

Here's a breakdown of what the Minneapolis mayor is focusing on in 2023-24.

Low, Mimi Parker

Low cancels Europe shows due to Mimi Parker's cancer treatment

The Duluth band says the decision follows 'recent changes' in Parker's treatment.


Ron Johnson

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson the latest positive COVID-19 case

Three Republican senators have now tested positive for the virus this week.

Tony Evers, Wisconsin governor

WI governor vows to protect anyone charged with abortion crimes

“You think it’s bad now? The four Republicans that are going after me, one of them we’re going to beat, they are going to make it worse," Evers said.

fire pixabay stock

1 dead, 1 escapes western Wisconsin house fire

The single-story home was fully engulfed in flames when first responders arrived early Wednesday morning.

Janet Bewley

Mom, daughter dead in crash involving WI Senate Minority Leader

No charges have been filed as of Tuesday afternoon.

alcohol bar

Alcohol deaths in WI rose nearly 25% in 2020, report says

1,077 people died from alcohol use in Wisconsin in 2020.

Bear killed after it attacked couple in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin couple fight, kill bear that broke into their home

The incident happened last week in north-central Wisconsin.