Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offered up $1 million for evidence of voter fraud. The program’s first find: illegal voting by a registered Republican.
Following the 2020 presidential election, Dan Patrick went looking for voter fraud. Well, he sent other people looking for it, at least. Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas and a Trump supporter who has played footsie with the former president’s conspiracy theories about stolen elections, set aside $1 million to pay anyone who provided evidence of voter fraud.
The week, he made his first payment, though it probably wasn’t to the kind of investigator he was hoping for. According to The Dallas Morning News, Patrick cut a $25,000 check to Eric Frank, a Democrat and poll worker in Pennsylvania who turned in information that led to a voter fraud conviction — against a registered Republican.
Patrick has been touting his $1 million bounty for months, launching it just days after the 2020 election concluded and claiming that it would pay a minimum of $25,000 for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction. In a press release, Patrick advised potential whistleblowers across the country — not just in Texas — to provide evidence to local law enforcement and then claim their reward, which would be paid out of Patrick’s campaign funds.
Here’s the catch, though: Patrick never explained how a person could actually claim their bounty. The initial press release makes a promise of a payout, but there is little other information. It’s mostly just a formalized rambling screed about Democrats stealing elections. So when Frank came forward with evidence of voter fraud, it wasn’t clear how exactly he was going to get paid. He told The Dallas Morning News back in January that he was trying to figure out how to get in contact with the Patrick but to no avail. “I don’t know what avenue to take in order to request the reward,” he said at the time.
It wasn't until earlier this month that Frank was finally able to get into contact with Patrick’s office, at which point he submitted documentation to prove that he helped get someone convicted of voter fraud: a 72-year-old registered Republican who attempted to cast a ballot in his son’s name. With a conviction on the books, Patrick had no choice but to cut a check.
Frank is probably the last person that Patrick wanted to hear from. According to The Dallas Morning News, Frank’s father is an election judge and his mother is a campaign manager for Pennsylvania Democrats. Frank himself is a poll worker and said he would have turned in anyone who attempted to commit voter fraud; it just so happened the person he did catch in the act was a Republican. (It’s worth noting that Pennsylvania has charged five people with voter fraud, and four are registered Republicans.)
The payout is a drop in the bucket for Patrick, who has more than $23 million in campaign funds — which makes it all the funnier that he paid the absolute minimum to Frank. According to Frank, he was told that he was the first and only person to ask for a payout, but wasn’t given more because they are saving the reward for “bigger fish.”
Of course, Patrick’s motives in this bounty program are definitely pure, and he is totally just looking for any voter fraud and not trying to serve a political agenda. He’s thrilled by this finding, even if it was fraud by a Republican voter, because finding and convicting any instance of voter fraud strengthens our democracy, right?
Well, Patrick’s office has yet to announce the one and only bounty payout that they have made, and his spokesperson declined to comment to local media on their only success so far. Huh. The lieutenant governor is probably just very busy right now, but surely he’ll get around to it.