The law firm representing Fox News in a defamation suit appears to be fishing for evidence to support its client’s conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems, including the alleged claim that the company gave “kickbacks” to election officials. Media Matters obtained copies of numerous open record requests filed by Fox’s lawyers asking election officials for any documents related to bidding, procurement, and “things of value” that were received from Dominion.
Dominion Voting Systems is a U.S. and Canadian company that supplies voting machine technology. The company has stated that “as of the 2020 election, Dominion had contracts to provide voting machine technology in over 28 states including, for example, the more than 50 counties in New York.”
The company became a target of conspiracy theories after then-President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. One of the main purveyors of attacks against Dominion was Fox News, which aired false claims including that the company rigged the election for President Joe Biden and paid ''kickbacks'' to state officials to use its machines.
In March 2021, Dominion filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News alleging that ''Fox endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies about Dominion,'' including that it rigged the 2020 election; manipulated votes; is tied to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; and “paid kickbacks to government officials who used its machines in the 2020 Presidential Election.” Dominion also filed a November 2021 lawsuit against Fox Corp., the parent company of Fox News, that included the ''kickbacks'' complaint.
Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis recently scheduled a jury trial for Dominion’s Fox News lawsuit in April 2023.
Fox News hired Jackson Walker as one of its law firms for the Dominion suit. Media Matters found that the firm has filed at least 11 public record requests with state elections offices. Media Matters found requests in Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington.
In over a dozen sections, the requests describe the various documents Jackson Walker is seeking. All told, they suggest the firm is fishing for corruption in the “procurement” process and attempting to find problems with Dominion “equipment and/or software." Jackson Walker states in the requests that it is “representing a defendant in a civil action, and this request is made to gather information related to the civil action and not for a commercial use.”
The law firm specifically asks for documents related to “procurement” and “bid evaluation documents of any kind.” It also requests “documents and communications related to campaign contributions, financial contributions or other things of value” that were exchanged between officials and Dominion.
The requests additionally ask for “documents and communications related to testing, analysis, certification, decertification or refusal to certify, accept or utilize equipment and/or software provided, maintained or supported by Dominion” and “documents and communications related to any criticisms of, or concerns about, the use of” Dominion “equipment and/or software.”
Dominion has stated that “its voting systems are certified under standards promulgated by the [U.S. Election Assistance Commission], reviewed and tested by independent testing laboratories accredited by the EAC, and were designed to be auditable and include a paper ballot backup to verify results.”
Media Matters obtained the information about nearly all of the above public record requests through our own requests to election offices for information about public record requests about Dominion. In one instance, the Illinois Board of Elections posted Jackson Walker’s record request online.
While Fox has been working behind the scenes to validate the Dominion conspiracy theories that got the network sued, it has been publicly feuding with pillow magnate Mike Lindell over his promotion of the same misinformation. In February 2021, Dominion filed a $1.3 billion defamation suit against the MyPillow CEO for falsely claiming that “Dominion had stolen the 2020 election.”
*This article was updated with additional state public records requests.