Pro tip: It's best not to accuse people of voter fraud if you, yourself, are fraudulently voting.
A Nevada business executive once touted as the literal poster child for the GOP’s Donald Trump-fueled claims of voter fraud in 2020 has been arrested and charged with two counts of, you guessed it, voter fraud.
“Voter fraud is rare, but when it happens it undercuts trust in our election system and will not be tolerated by my office,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a statement Thursday announcing the charges against Donald “Kirk” Hartle, a Las Vegas businessman whom this past November became the face of the state Republican Party’s baseless allegations of electoral malfeasance. “I want to stress that our office will pursue any credible allegations of voter fraud and will work to bring any offenders to justice.”
Hartle first rose to political prominence nearly a year ago when, in the aftermath of Trump’s loss in Nevada, he claimed to have “discovered” a ballot cast by his long-deceased wife, Rosemarie. Shortly thereafter, his allegation that someone had evidently spoofed his wife’s signature to cast a ballot in the 2020 race was shared by the Nevada GOP’s official Twitter account, which described it as a “concrete case” of voting irregularity worthy of serious and immediate investigation.
Unfortunately for them, their wish came true. Per the criminal complaint against Hartle:
DONALD KIRK HARTLE, has committed the crime of VOTING USING THE NAME OF ANOTHER PERSON, a category “D” felony in violation of NRS 293.775 ; and VOTING MORE THAN ONCE AT SAME ELECTION, a category “D” felony in violation of NRS 293.780 . All of the acts alleged herein have been committed or completed on or between Oct. 26, 2020 and Oct. 30, 2020, by the above-named defendant, within the County of Clark, State of Nevada.
Put simply, yes, it seems like someone did spoof Rosemarie’s ballot in the 2020 election: Hartle himself. And it’s worth noting that Hartle isn’t a nobody in the world of Nevada conservative politics, either: He’s the CFO of the Ahern Family of Companies, a construction business that has twice been fined for violating COVID laws while hosting Trump rallies at its facilities. What’s more, earlier this year Hartle’s boss, Don Ahern, was named finance chairman for the Nevada Republican Party, and formerly served “as an instrumental member of President Donald J. Trump’s finance team” according to the party’s press release at the time.
If convicted, Hartle faces up to four years in prison, and $5,000 in fines.
The Nevada AG’s charges against Hartle come just days after Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick was forced to pay out $25,000 after publicly offering a bounty to anyone with information of voter fraud in the 2020 election — presumably to bolster Trump’s loud but unfounded claims of a “stolen election.” Paxton’s hefty payout was ultimately made to Eric Frank, a Pennsylvania poll worker who provided information of voter fraud committed by, oh yes, a registered Republican.