The head of Fairfax County, Virginia’s purported “election integrity” task force lauded the supposed research abilities of certain QAnon influencers and admitted to sending their materials to the Fairfax County Office of Elections on a podcast hosted by the Conservative Partnership Institute’s Cleta Mitchell. Mitchell reportedly helped organize the group in 2021 ahead of the Virginia gubernatorial race, along with 18 other local task forces.
Mitchell leads CPI’s Election Integrity Network, an organization that she says aims to create “a volunteer army of citizens” in various positions related to election administration, motivated by false claims of election fraud. She is one of at least 20 of Trump’s allies — along with former chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Pentagon official Kash Patel — who were intimately involved in Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election and are now associated with CPI, a pro-Trump think tank. Mitchell, who was on the call with then-President Donald Trump when he pressed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn the presidential election in the state, was subpoenaed as part of a Fulton County, Georgia, special grand jury investigation into potential criminal election interference.
Christine Brim, the leader of the task force in Fairfax County, appeared on an episode of Who’s Counting? with Cleta Mitchell uploaded on October 11, and she claimed that the group put together a “20-page memo” on election software company Konnech in September that “really just aggregated data, screenshots and so on from” QAnon influencers. Brim said the task force sent the memo to the county board of elections.
Konnech has been targeted by influential election-denial organization True the Vote and collaborating QAnon influencers, who allege that the Chinese Communist Party used the company to influence American elections. Konnech has sued True the Vote for defamation. Attacks on Konnech ramped up when its CEO was arrested “on suspicion of theft of personal identifying information” about poll workers, even though the charges were unrelated to vote tabulation or election results. After the CEO’s arrest, the Fairfax County Office of Elections canceled its contract with Konnech.
The QAnon figures behind the data Brim shared, whom she called “very professional researchers,” are known online as Kanekoa and CognitiveCarbon. They are members of We The Media, a collective channel of QAnon influencers. (A blog post from the group mentioning the memo also cited another QAnon influencer and member of We The Media known as The Authority.)
Later on in the interview, Brim told Mitchell that “one-off researchers, like Kanekoa,” provided “tremendous information,” from whom “election integrity working groups … have the capability to take that information and turn it into something operational locally.”
Since the interview came out, Kanekoa has praised the group for relying on the materials that both Kanekoa and CongnitiveCarbon put online, calling it “very cool” and claiming it “demonstrates the power of getting involved in your local elections.”
This instance of a CPI- and GOP-linked Fairfax County group sending material from QAnon influencers to the county board of elections further demonstrates the connections between the QAnon and election denial movements. Media Matters has previously documented True the Vote’s collaboration with QAnon figures, major election denial funder Patrick Byrne’s significant connections to the QAnon community, and a QAnon influencer’s involvement with a coalition recruiting and aiming to elect election-denialist secretary of state candidates. And according to Nevada Republican secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant, the leader of that coalition, he had been “working very close” with Mitchell and CPI.