MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, an ally of former President Donald Trump who has helped fund the work of various 2020 election deniers, headlined an “Election Truth Rally” at the Colorado Capitol. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America)

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, one of the nation’s highest profile peddlers of baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, said Tuesday that he’s donated as much as $800,000 to the legal defense fund of embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters.

“I probably put in three, four or five, maybe $800,000, of my own money,” Lindell told reporters outside the Colorado Capitol. 

Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission is investigating the legal defense fund after a complaint was filed about the lack of transparency around who is giving the fund money. Peters has denied wrongdoing

Peters, a Republican under indictment in a security breach of her county’s election system, is also being investigated by the commission over allegations that she accepted a plane ride from Lindell in order to attend an election security symposium he hosted in August.

Lindell said Tuesday that Peters “probably” traveled on his private jet to the symposium.

“She came to the cyber symposium with the group from Colorado,” he said. “I picked people up — I invited all 50 states, all 50 states were represented.”

Lindell then called a Colorado Sun reporter, and his questions, “stupid.”

“Another stupid question by a stupid journalist,” Lindell said.

Colorado’s Constitution prohibits elected officials from accepting a gift greater than $65, including for travel. 

Lindell was in Colorado on Tuesday to speak at an “Election Truth Rally” at the Colorado Capitol with Peters and other Colorado Republicans, including state Reps. Dave Williams, Ron Hanks, Richard Holtorf and Mark Baisley. Williams is running to represent the 5th Congressional District and Hanks is running for U.S. Senate. 

Demonstrators at the “Election Truth Rally” Tuesday at the Colorado Capitol. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America)

A Mesa County grand jury indicted Peters in March on 10 felony and misdemeanor counts, including the following charges: attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, identity theft and first-degree official misconduct. 

Peters is running to be Colorado’s secretary of state.

Speaking to the crowd from the Capitol’s west steps Tuesday, Peters compared the other candidates running for secretary of state to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and billionaire investor George Soros, a Democratic donor who frequently draws Republican ire.

“I went, ‘I got to stand up,’” Peters said, describing her decision to run. “I said, ‘I’m running into the fire for you.’”

Peters also took aim at an election-security bill being debated in the legislature, arguing it would put too much “power into the hands of one person, and that’s the secretary of state.” 

“We cannot let that person — those people — get in,” Peters said. The crowd chanted “lock her up” as she spoke, a seeming reference to current Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat. Some waved flags or held signs with slogans like “TRUMP WON SAVE AMERICA” and “RECALL Polis & Griswold.”

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters attends the “Election Truth Rally” Tuesday at the Colorado Capitol. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report For America)

The election-security measure, Senate Bill 153, would make it a felony to tamper with voting equipment or to publish confidential voting system information. It would also bar those convicted of certain offenses, including attempting to overthrow the government, from serving as an election official. 

The bill was inspired by Peters’ actions last year and is supported by the bipartisan Colorado County Clerks Association, members of which on Sunday held a news conference to denounce Tuesday’s rally.

State lawmakers who spoke at the rally on Tuesday said they supported Peters, who posed for selfies and signed items of clothing for attendees. A few hundred people attended the event.

Demonstrators at the “Election Truth Rally” Tuesday at the Colorado Capitol. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America)

Rep. Dave Williams, a Republican from El Paso County, apologized to the crowd for being late, saying he had been “trying to fight Dominion Voting Systems,” and accused “godless Democrats” of trying to “steal them some elections.” 

“I’m not afraid to say it: RINO Republicans have caused us to have this mess that we have,” he added. 

RINO is an acronym for Republicans in name only.

Williams likened Peters to a political prisoner and concluded his remarks by saying “Let’s go Brandon,” coded language used to insult President Joe Biden with vulgarity. 

Lindell said that just before speaking at the rally he was served with a lawsuit filed by Eric Coomer, a former executive at Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems, which has been baselessly accused of perpetrating fraud in 2020. Coomer, who has been the central Dominion employee attacked by election deniers, has filed a number of defamation lawsuits, including against conservative media outlets and figures.

The Colorado Sun —

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Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul

Shannon Najmabadi covered rural affairs and the rural economy for The Colorado Sun from 2021-2023.

Email: Twitter: @ShannonNajma