| Austin American-Statesman
Fox News cuts away from Trump campaign news conference
Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto interrupted a Trump campaign news conference after election fraud allegations.
AUSTIN, Texas – As GOP lawyers and leaders frantically search for proof of fraud to back allegations of election irregularities, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has offered to pay tipsters at least $25,000 for information leading to a conviction for voter fraud.
Patrick, one of President Donald Trump’s biggest boosters in Texas, said Tuesday that the payments would be capped at $1 million. The money to encourage and reward tipsters would come from Patrick’s campaign fund, which held almost $15.5 million at the end of June.
Democrats dismissed the offer as a desperate and cynical stunt.
Complaining of fraud, Trump has claimed victory in last week’s election despite projections showing Democrat Joe Biden with more than enough electoral votes to prevail and despite Biden receiving almost 5 million more votes nationwide – a lead that has widened as more votes are counted.
A flurry of lawsuits challenging the results in a number of states have failed to gain traction for Trump and Republican organizations, in part because judges have noted a lack of evidence of actual fraud.
Patrick, hoping to find supporting evidence, asked tipsters to turn their information over to law enforcement.
“President Trump’s pursuit of voter fraud is not only essential to determine the outcome of this election, it is essential to maintain our democracy and restore faith in future elections,” Patrick said in his announcement, which provided no details on how to cash in on a successful tip.
Jim Clancy, former chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission, said handing out large sums of reward money may be improper if it’s being used to help prove Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.
“You could argue that this is an in-kind contribution to the Donald Trump campaign. That’s his problem,” Clancy said.
“My goal is to ensure that, regardless of the outcome, every American has faith in our electoral process and our democracy,” Patrick added.
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow the Statesman’s Chuck Lindell on Twitter: @chucklindell.