ATLANTA — Newly revealed records show that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp did in fact meet with the executive director of the right-wing group Heritage Action Jessica Anderson behind closed doors only days before he signed the extreme anti-voter bill SB 202. These newly disclosed records come after a previous Mother Jones report that revealed Anderson boasted to conservative donors about Heritage’s efforts to force through model voter suppression legislation in Georgia and across the country.
The Guardian’s Sam Levine revealed the records confirming an earlier video leak reported by Mother Jones’ Ari Berman in which Anderson not only bragged about Heritage’s actions to help force through anti-democratic voter suppression bills across the country, but also Heritage’s efforts to personally lobby Kemp to sign SB 202. In that same video, Republican state Rep. Barry Fleming, the author SB 202, praises Heritage Action for its multi-million dollar investment to pass the voter suppression bill, saying, “I can tell you, back in February, I felt like some days we were alone in Georgia.” Fleming continued in the video, “And then the Heritage Foundation stepped in, and that began to bring us a boost to help turn around, get the truth out about what we were really trying to do. And I’m here in part to say thank you and God bless you.”
In addition to SB 202 in Georgia, Anderson also previously admitted in the leaked video that Heritage is working to engineer other anti-voter bills across the country, including in other key battleground states like Florida, Arizona, and Iowa as they work to promote the Big Lie surrounding the 2020 election. Anderson even admitted that Heritage’s aim is to spend $24 million dollars over the next two years in battleground states “to right the wrongs of November.”
“No matter what Georgia Republicans like Governor Brian Kemp try to claim, the record shows he is part of a coordinated, nationwide voter suppression push engineered by national far-right groups like Heritage Action, which we now know lobbied Kemp behind closed doors to push for the legislation he signed to disenfranchise Georgia voters,” said Fair Fight Action CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo. “Right-wing groups like Heritage have spent months along with millions of dollars to promote the Big Lie about the 2020 election as well as legislation that restricts access to the ballot box, especially for voters of color. This cynical right-wing effort to undermine our democracy and take voting rights back to the days of Jim Crow shows exactly why Congress must step up and pass both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect our democratic institutions and our freedom to vote. It’s time for supporters of voting rights across the country to stand up and speak out against this assault on our democracy, and anyone looking to learn more or get involved can visit StopJimCrow2.com.”