Update (2/4/21): Smartmatic has reportedly filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and others. CNN's Oliver Darcy reports that the lawsuit accuses “Fox, Giuliani, Powell and hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro of intentionally lying about Smartmatic in an effort to mislead the public into the false belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.”
Amid President Donald Trump’s numerous flailing attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 election, members of his legal team and his supporters in right-wing media have pushed an array of bizarre conspiracy theories about election systems company Smartmatic — theories which now have three right-wing news networks facing legal threats.
Generally, those right-wing media conspiracy theories allege that Smartmatic machines were used in the 2020 presidential election to illegally switch votes for Trump to President-elect Joe Biden. Conservatives have also alleged that another election systems company, Dominion Voting Systems, is really a front for Smartmatic. None of these allegations are true: Smartmatic did not try to steal the election, its machines were not even used in any contested states, and it is a separate company from Dominion, which is actually its competitor. But right-wing media frequently pushed all those false claims and more following Trump’s election loss.
On December 20, The New York Times reported that Antonio Mugica, the founder and CEO of Smartmatic, “sent scathing letters to the Fox News Channel, Newsmax and OAN demanding that they immediately, forcefully clear his company’s name — and that they retain documents for a planned defamation lawsuit.”
Although Fox News and Newsmax have aired several heavily scripted segments that amount to fact checks of the aforementioned lies, OAN is still promoting the potentially defamatory theories. Media Matters has compiled a partial list of Smartmatic conspiracy theories that have been pushed by right-wing media.
One America News
OAN’s Lilia Fifield, citing the Gateway Pundit, claims: “Smartmatic is partially owned by the Maduro regime and George Soros.” Fifield said “reports suggest” that Smartmatic “had a campaign staffer for Hugo Chavez on its board” and cheated in a 2004 Venezuelan election to “secure a win” for Chavez. [OAN, 11/17/20]
An OAN package uncritically promoted former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell’s false claims about Smartmatic and Dominion. The package had Powell claiming that both companies demonstrated “the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China in the interference with our elections here in the United States.” [OAN, OAN News 8 AM with Stephanie Myers, 11/20/20]
OAN White House correspondent Chanel Rion promoted Powell’s claim that “a Dominion machine and Smartmatic software” should never be used in any U.S. election again. Rion linked this to “antifa-drenched engineers ... hellbent on deleting half of America’s voice,” and commended OAN and “lawyers like Sidney Powell” for “asking the questions the FBI refuses to.” [OAN, “Dominion-izing” the Vote, 11/21/20; Media Matters, 12/5/20]
An OAN report on Powell’s lawsuits claimed that “a core design in Smartmatic software … allows it to hide any manipulations to votes during an audit.” The report echoed Powell’s claims that the feature was “first developed and used by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to ensure he never lost an election.” [OAN, 11/26/20]
Newsmax analyst Dick Morris: Election fraud “may well have originated in the Dominion software, in the Smartmatic software that the polling people, voting people used.” [Newsmax, Stinchfield, 11/17/20]
Morris: “The Dominion software is licensed from Smartmatic, which is [a] Venezuelan-owned and -controlled company. So we’re dealing here with the most incredible kind of systemic fraud.” Morris suggested that this same systemic fraud would appear in the upcoming Georgia runoff elections, since “this is the exact same system.” [Newsmax, American Agenda, 12/15/20]
Overstock.com founder Patrick Byrne said there were Chinese, Pakistani, Iranian, Venezuelan, and Cuban “fingerprints” all over Smartmatic, which plotted to “destroy our election system to take us down.” Byrne comments came during a discussion on a supposed “assassin’s mace” secret weapon used to attack the U.S. [Newsmax, Greg Kelly Reports, 12/17/20]
Morris: “Actual intervention in the vote count … through Dominion software and Smartmatic” has “been proven in one county in Michigan.” [Newsmax, American Agenda, 12/18/20]
Newsmax: “Facts About Dominion, Smartmatic You Should Know.”
Since election day, various guests, attorneys and elected officials have appeared on Newsmax TV and offered opinions and claims about Smartmatic and Dominion Systems, both companies that offer voting software in the U.S.
Newsmax would like to clarify its news coverage and note it has not reported as true certain claims made about these companies.
There are several facts our viewers and readers should be aware. Newsmax has found no evidence either Dominion or Smartmatic owns the other, or has any business association with each other.
We have no evidence Dominion uses Smartmatic’s software or vice versa.
No evidence has been offered that Dominion or Smartmatic used software or reprogrammed software that manipulated votes in the 2020 election.
Smartmatic has stated its software was only used in the 2020 election in Los Angeles, and was not used in any battleground state contested by the Trump campaign and Newsmax has no evidence to the contrary.
Dominion has stated its company has no ownership relationship with the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's family, Sen. Dianne Feinstein's family, the Clinton family, Hugo Chavez, or the government of Venezuela.
Neither Dominion nor Smartmatic has any relationship with George Soros.
Smartmatic is a U.S. company and not owned by the Venezuelan government, Hugo Chavez or any foreign official or entity.
Smartmatic states it has no operations in Venezuela. While the company did election projects in Venezuela from 2004 to 2017, it states it never was founded by Hugo Chavez, nor did it have a corrupt relationship with him or the Venezuelan government. [Newsmax, 12/19/20]
Newsmax personalities read from the above statement on air. [Newsmax, John Bachman Now, 12/21/20]
Fox anchor Maria Bartiromo pushed the Smartmatic conspiracy theory on Parler. Bartiromo hyped alleged “dirty Venezuelan & Cuba money behind dominion” before falsely claiming on Fox & Friends Weekend that Smartmatic “owns Dominion Voting Systems.” [Parler, 11/12/20; Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 11/15/20]
Sidney Powell told Fox host Jeanine Pirro that “Dominion and Smartmatic software” were used to alter “millions of votes” and overwrite computers “to ignore signatures.” Pirro noted that “they” denied the claims, but continued to talk to Powell as a reliable authority working to “establish corruption in the use of this software.” [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 11/14/20]
Bartiromo: “There is much to understand about Smartmatic, which owns Dominion Voting Systems. They have businesses in Venezuela, Caracas. They have businesses in Cuba, and there are also links to China.” Promoting appearances from Powell and Rudy Giuliani, Bartiromo said it “is very important to understand what was going on with this software.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 11/15/20]
Rudy Giuliani told Bartiromo that his sources were “there at the creation of Smartmatic,” which is chaired by “a close business associate of George Soros. Do I have to tell you more?” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 11/15/20; 11/15/20]
Powell told Bartiromo that “millions of votes” were stolen from Trump using “Dominion and its Smartmatic software,” which was “designed expressly for that purpose. … It was designed to rig elections.” Powell also said, “I never say anything I can’t prove.” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 11/15/20]
Lou Dobbs said it’s “an extraordinary situation” that Smartmatic chair and retired Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger is also on Biden’s “presumptuous presidential transition team.” Powell replied by alleging that “when somebody’s losing,” Smartmatic machines can be used to “reset the entire system” and “change the results,” as she said was done by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 11/16/20]
Reporter John Roberts contrasted Dominion’s fraud denials with “questions about voting software called Smartmatic, a company with roots in Venezuela that has provided technology for several Venezuelan elections.” Roberts also highlighted Neffenger’s role on the president-elect’s transition team. [Fox News, Special Report, 11/17/20]
Giuliani to Dobbs: “The company counting” votes is “Smartmatic, which is a company that was founded in 2005 in Venezuela for the specific purpose of fixing elections. That’s their expertise, how to fix elections.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 11/18/20]
Giuliani to Dobbs: “They’re only going to cheat in one direction. After all, the chairman of Smartmatic is very, very close to none other than Mr. Soros. So how do you think they’re going to cheat? They’re going to cheat Democratic.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 11/18/20]
Citing “a whistleblower’s stunning affidavit,” Dobbs reported that “Smartmatic’s technology was used to rig elections in Venezuela. It is now in the, quote, ‘DNA of every vote-tabulating company’s software and system.’” He added: “Smartmatic and Dominion deny those charges. But Sidney Powell argues that algorithms in the Smartmatic software were used to change results in the presidential election.” [Fox News, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 11/19/20]
Powell told Dobbs that Smartmatic and Dominion are “definitely linked” and “inextricably intertwined,” which “allows them to manipulate the votes in any way the operators choose to manipulate them.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 11/19/20]
Fox host Jesse Watters echoed Powell’s claims: “We’re going to report tonight on what we were able to verify, based off of what she said.” Watters pointed to “a couple of instances that we found in this election and other elections where votes were reportedly incorrectly tabulated into the wrong candidate's column. Whether this was a small glitch, a statistical error, human error, or a characteristic feature, we have not been able to determine that yet.” He went on to say that Smartmatic “did supply voting machines to the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez” and noted the company is “foreign-owned” by “a dual Spanish-Venezuelan national,” though he added that “George Soros does not have any ownership stake.” [Fox News, Watters’ World, 11/21/20]
Pirro repeated allegations that Smartmatic has a “backdoor” for flipping votes in Dominion machines: “These are serious allegations. But the media has no interest in any of this. But you and I do. As we should, because 73 million Americans voted for Donald Trump. … They say the risk of our giving false hope should be enough to stop us, two weeks later. I say the risk of not looking at what is staring us in the face is too great to not stop us.” [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 11/21/20]
Bartiromo: “Smartmatic election software was developed, Sidney Powell says, in Venezuela, with porous security and built-in functionality allowing the administrators to override security features.” Bartiromo qualified the assertion, “We haven’t seen this so we don’t know, but this is the kind of evidence that they say they have.” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 11/22/20]
Powell to Dobbs: “We now have reams and reams of actual documents from Smartmatic and Dominion, including evidence that they planned and executed all of this.” She further alleged, “We know that $400 million of money came into Smartmatic from China only a few weeks before the election, that there are George Soros connections to the entire endeavor.” Powell later referenced “the connections with the Chinese and other countries that were attacking us in this massive cyber Pearl Harbor.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 12/10/20]
Far-right and conspiratorial media
Gateway Pundit: “MORE FROM SIDNEY POWELL: Dominion, Smartmatic and China Involved in a ‘Cyber Pearl Harbor’ in the 2020 US Election.”
Sidney Powell was on with Lou Dobbs last night. She discussed the many crimes she and her team have uncovered in the coup attempt to steal the election away from President Trump.
In this segment with Lou, Powell focused on the extraordinary cyber crimes, or as Powell called it, the ‘Cyber Pearl Harbor’.
Powell is right. There are so many issues with the Dominion voting machines and Smartmatic software that they never should have been brought into the USA. One item Powell may be referring to in her interview is the remote device developed and used in the Dominion machines that allows remote access and is developed by a company owned by the Chinese. This device was bought and paid for by the US taxpayer:
Sidney Powell is right. The US was attacked in the 2020 election with a Cyber Pearl Harbor coming from China and Soros related entities.
President Trump is our President. He is not going to allow Communists to take over the United States.
Per an article at the Western Journal on Sunday, Sidney Powell is building a RICO case against voting machine companies Dominion and Smartmatic :
If there was a RICO case against a group colluding against the United States of American would it stop with Dominion and Smartmatic?
This does not look good for Dominion, Smartmatic, China and those working with them within our borders.
Infowars: “Hugo Chavez’s cronies created that company. … I’ve been talking about Smartmatic since 2012. So you can imagine if Sidney Powell is fed up with this, how fed up I am with this.” David Knight also said, “How many times do we have to go over this and talk about how corrupt this is? … We know that with this Smartmatic software, that they can determine what the vote count is, it’s continually going, they can stop it, and then they can switch it around. We’ve seen this over and over again.” [Infowars, The David Knight Show, 11/16/20]
Infowars aired a “Smartmatic for Dummies” segment calling the company “one of the best-known examples of election fraud anywhere” for “over a decade.” Knight said, “It isn’t who votes that matters, it’s who counts the votes, and Smartmatic is counting the votes.” [Infowars, The David Knight Show, 11/23/20]
Rush Limbaugh: “Dominion is the software company out of Venezuela. Smartmatic is a piece of software that does all of the conniving.” “And they’re both manufactured — the same outfit,” he added, “and they both have the same purpose which is to rig elections, and they are used in conjunction with one another.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/17/20]
Rush Limbaugh: “The number of legal votes coming in for Trump in Philadelphia, in Pittsburgh, other places in Pennsylvania, overwhelmed them. They had to stop the count. And their algorithms and the systems that were written, the Smartmatic software, the Dominion system, couldn’t keep up with it.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/19/20]
Mark Levin: “What in the hell are we doing with a company that had any ties with Venezuela’s government? ... This is Smartmatic with ties to the Hugo Chavez machine.” [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 11/16/20]
Right-wing talk radio host Joe Pagliarulo saying that “Smartmatic is involved. … Everything is connected to Venezuela,” leading into an interview with Debbie D’Souza promoting conspiracy theories linking George Soros and Hugo Chavez to Dominion and Smartmatic. Pagliarulo also said that “you can also change the votes, allegedly, through a thumb drive plugged into these machines.” D’Souza replied, “The reason that these machines were made in the first place was to rig elections,” adding that “Mr. Soros and the people that hate this country” are “related to all of this” through Smartmatic and Dominion. Pagliarulo agreed that “we already know that Smartmatic and Dominion are all the same thing. … We know that to be a fact.” [Compass Media Networks, The Joe Pags Show, 11/20/20]
Attorney Lin Wood: Any Smartmatic lawsuit involving Sidney Powell “allows discovery, going into their financial records, their business and corporate structure. Their activities in connection with the election. They are never going to want that exposed, so they’re bluffing.” [The John Fredericks Show, 12/21/20]
Correction (1/24/22): This piece originally misidentified the speaker in a November 17, 2020, OAN clip as Stephanie Myers. It was actually Lilia Fifield.