Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday named John Scott Texas’ interim secretary of state. But there’s one issue. Scott, who as secretary of state will serve as Texas’ chief election officer, worked as an attorney for former-President Trump in a suit trying to overturn the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.
Scott joined Trump’s legal team in Pennsylvania shortly after the election, and worked on one of the numerous suits Trump filed to contest the results. The suit Scott served on sought to block the state’s certification of the election, but was ultimately unsuccessful. Scott withdrew as Trump’s counsel a few days after agreeing to represent him, saying in a filing that he and other lawyers reached a “mutual agreement” with the Trump campaign “that Plaintiffs will be best served” if they withdrew from the case.
Texas is currently undergoing a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election in four counties. “The purpose of this audit is to ensure all Texas voters can have confidence in the elections systems in our state, and to address any outstanding issues county election officials may face that undermines the integrity of our elections,” a document announcing the audit said. But the Texas secretary of state’s website already says in a 2020 election-security update that there is “no evidence that any voting or voter registration systems in Texas were compromised before the 2016 Election or in any subsequent elections.”
Scott may not be so convinced.
“John Scott is a proven leader with a passion for public service, and his decades of experience in election law and litigation make him the ideal choice for the Texas Secretary of State,” Abbott said in a statement announcing the appointment. “John understands the importance of protecting the integrity of our elections and building the Texas brand on an international stage. I am confident that John’s experience and expertise will enhance his oversight and leadership over the biggest and most thorough election audit in the country.”
The appointment has Democratic activists in the state concerned. “Texas’ already chaotic Secretary of State’s Office will be headed by someone intent on paving the way for Trump’s ‘Big Lie,’ ” Matt Angle, director of the Lone Star Project, said in a statement obtained by The Texas Tribune. “By appointing a known vote suppressor to oversee our elections, Abbott is knowingly putting Texas elections in jeopardy and our future at risk just to cruelly hang on to power.”
Scott has not yet been confirmed by the Texas Legislature. But because the Legislature is not scheduled to meet again until 2023, Scott will still serve on an interim basis and will lead the state’s elections next year, including Abbott’s reelection bid.
Texas is all in on the election-fraud lie. In addition to the ongoing audit, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently made his first $25,000 bounty payment to a Pennsylvania tipster who reported a case of voter fraud that led to a conviction. But instead of uncovering rampant Democratic voter fraud, Patrick cut the first check to a progressive poll worker who uncovered a case of illegal voting by a registered Republican attempting to cast a ballot under his son’s name.