A retired Air Force veteran has launched a new project whose aim he says is to guard the Constitution, educate public officials and inspire activism across the country.
But there’s a wrinkle: The veteran is among those accused of trying to derail the 2020 election, who are now under scrutiny by federal prosecutors.
Shawn Meehan, 57, was a “fake elector” in Nevada, who in 2020, along with five other Republicans in the state, signed documents that authorities say aimed to interfere with Joe Biden’s rightful electoral victory. At least two fellow pro-Trump electors in Nevada have testified before a special grand jury in Washington, D.C. Meehan, who has retained an attorney, would not say whether he has been subpoenaed to testify.
Now Meehan — who serves on the Nevada Republican Central Committee and a Douglas County GOP committee, told NBC News he has launched a venture whose objective is to educate the public on the Constitution and motivate citizens to engage with local officials. The end goal, said Meehan, is to prod elected officials to vote in a constitutionally sound manner by reaching out to them and making constitutional arguments before they take action.
Meehan said the thrust is to educate the public to approach its representatives “not in an abusive format but in a calm, informed, very strong and assertive format to engage with their elected officials, using a proven model.”
That model, Meehan said, leans on his own success in explaining constitutional issues to public officials and seeing results.
The website will have an originalist perspective, mixing constitutional lessons with discussions of current events related to constitutional questions, he said. The venture, GuardtheConstitution.com, which goes online this week, will have a function to pay those who refer others to the site, a feature Meehan said had a patent pending.
Asked how he squared the allegations around fake electors with the constitutional nature of his venture, Meehan said, “I can’t address those accusations. I’ve been speaking with counsel, and I just simply am not going to address that part of it any further.”
To some, the fact that someone would set up a site aimed at protecting the Constitution when accused of attempting to upend the nation’s storied history of a peaceful transition of power is rich with irony.
“The irony runs deep because it is these folks who claim the most stringent adherence to the framers and the ideas that they had who are advancing these implausible, atextual and completely ahistorical readings of the Constitution, to try to reach their political goal — all while draping themselves in the Constitution,” said Jeff Mandell, a Wisconsin attorney who led a lawsuit against fraudulent electors in his state.
Some of the Trump electors who took part in the alleged scheme said their actions were a contingency in the event that lawsuits challenging the validity of the vote for Biden succeeded. Many Republicans insisted that voter fraud ran rampant in the election, despite a mountain of evidence and legal rulings to the contrary.
In December 2020, Meehan told The Wall Street Journal: “Trump won, and we have a duty to cast our votes. We’re preserving our right while there’s ongoing litigation.”
Text messages published by the Jan. 6 committee during exchanges with Nevada state party’s vice chair Jim Degraffenreid offer more insight into Meehan’s thinking.
“Makes me wonder if a Patriot out there aware of the theft might take a Second Amendment approach to solving the problem. I certainly don’t want violence, but the Battle of Athens in 1946 shows this is why the Second Amendment exists,” Meehan wrote in one of the texts. “I’m just baffled at the flippant attitude of the courts. To be clear for the NSA technicians reading this text, I do not want, nor am I advocating for violence. I’m simply calling out that there likely are others out there with far less impulse control in light of this tyranny.”
Today, Meehan’s reticence to discuss the allegations demonstrates the limbo in which many electors have lingered amid state and federal investigations into election interference. Hanging over Meehan is the label “fake elector,” applied by the Jan. 6 Select Committee, and the criminal charges awaiting in the balance.
Meehan’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Of the 84 Trump fake electors across seven states, most have neither been charged nor cleared. Fake electors in Michigan and Georgia face state charges. Others, including in Arizona, await local decisions.
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, who won a second term last year, recently left open the possibility that state charges could still come.
“I’ve never said that we’re not going to prosecute,” Ford told KLAS-TV last week.
After the six Nevada fake electors cast their votes, the state GOP posted a photo of them on X, formerly known as Twitter, and wrote: “Our brave electors standing up for what is right and casting their electoral votes for @realDonaldTrump. We believe in fair elections and will continue the fight against voter fraud in the Silver State!“
The alleged fraudulent elector scheme was integral to a federal indictment against Trump, who has been charged in a conspiracy “to defraud the United States by using dishonesty, fraud and deceit” to obstruct the electoral vote process.
The way the Trump elector scenario was to work: Slates of Trump supporters purported to be the state’s duly elected representatives to the Electoral College, even though there were rightful Biden electors attesting to his victory. Those false electors, in most cases, signed certifications that Trump had won in their states even though he had lost.
The idea was to then pressure Mike Pence, who was vice president at the time, to accept the votes of the false slates of electors instead of those of the rightful electoral voters. Pence rejected the attempt.
Meehan tiptoed around the frustration of trying to move forward while awaiting resolution of his alleged actions in 2020.
“A lot of people in America know what’s going on — they’ve expressed their frustrations,” Meehan said. “Not to be coy — but to be coy — I wouldn’t be surprised if I shared similar frustrations.”