The Democratic National Committee has cut ties with Marc Elias, the party's scandal-plagued election lawyer who was behind the infamous Steele dossier that falsely accused Donald Trump's campaign of colluding with Russia.
The DNC and Elias are parting ways over "strategic disagreements," according to Punchbowl News. It is a surprising divorce for the DNC and Elias, considered one of the Democratic Party's top elections lawyers. Elias has worked for the DNC since 2009 and made over $1.9 million from the DNC this cycle alone. Elias has suffered a number of high-profile legal setbacks in recent years, most notably when a federal judge dismissed one of Elias's lawsuits as a "Hail Mary" pass meant to undermine free elections.
A spokesperson for the DNC said the committee was "appreciative" of Elias's years of service. A spokesperson for Elias's firm, Elias Law Group, said the firm was "proud of the work it has done for the DNC."
Elias and his roster of loser clients have been at the center of Democrats' biggest scandals in recent years. John Fetterman's U.S. Senate campaign tapped the dirty-tricks specialist in November to push Pennsylvania to accept undated mail-in ballots in a bid to boost the stroke survivor's vote count. Earlier in 2022, Elias joined the legal team of Andrew Gillum, the disgraced Florida gubernatorial candidate who withdrew from politics after police found him passed out and full of drugs in a hotel room.
As a lawyer for the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, Elias hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS to compile a dossier on Donald Trump's alleged ties to Russia. The dossier, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, has been largely debunked since its release in 2017. The Federal Election Commission last year fined the DNC and Clinton campaign a total of $113,000 for improperly earmarking the dossier in campaign finance disclosures as "legal expenses" instead of opposition research.
Elias was not fined in the FEC case, but he has racked up other controversies.
A Texas appeals court sanctioned Elias in 2021 for "misleading" statements he made to overturn a ban on straight-ticket ballot options.
In a lawsuit that same year, Elias claimed without evidence that New York's voting machines were compromised in a race between his client, Anthony Brindisi, and Rep. Claudia Tenney (R.). A federal judge blasted Elias's legal argument as a "Hail Mary pass" before tossing the lawsuit.
Elias in 2021 unsuccessfully pressured House Democrats to overturn Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks's (R., Iowa) win over his client, Rita Hart. The Washington Free Beacon reported Elias represented the Virginia-based political action committee that falsely posed as a conservative group in ads criticizing Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin (R.) over his stance on gun rights.
Elias represents a slew of Democratic candidates, super PACs, and political committees. He specializes in litigation on behalf of candidates in ballot recounts and in lawsuits to shape voting laws in ways favorable to Democrats. Elias, for example, has sued numerous times to block voter ID legislation.