During the Alabama Republican Party’s annual winter meeting in Birmingham this weekend, an interesting exchange occurred when a non-member of the state executive committee attempted to nominate Gregg Phillips — an election fraud conspiracy theorist and podcast host who helped produce the debunked conspiracy film “2000 Mules” — for party vice chairman.
Phillips is not a member of the state executive committee, nor was he present at the meeting on Saturday, having apparently been held up due to flooding in Texas. He had only announced his intention to run for the seat the day before.
Officer nominations must be made by executive committee members, not guests, as was pointed out by ALGOP Chairman John Wahl from the podium that Saturday.
Deanna Frankowski, secretary of the Jefferson County Republican Party and the head of Hoover constituent services for U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, came to the mic and nominated Phillips, though she appeared unsure of his name at first. Frankowksi said she had just received a text about his nomination and apologized for the mistake.
No committee member after this incident rose to speak on Phillip’s behalf, with the body choosing not to allow non-members to do so in a voice vote.
Phillips may be best remembered as the author of a tweet alleging that more than 3 million non-citizen votes were cast during the 2016 election, a claim that was cited by then-U.S. President Donald Trump a few months prior to his launch of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in 2017. Phillips made this claim while a board member of the True the Vote group, a Texas-based organization that has spread election fraud conspiracies for the better part of a decade. The group is currently headed by Catherine Engelbrecht, with Phillips still a board member.
Both Phillips and Engelbrecht were found in contempt of court and later arrested for not disclosing the name of an individual alleged to have improperly obtained data from Konnech Inc, a Michigan-based company the pair accused of storing the personal information on U.S. election workers on a server in China that could be accessed by the Chinese government. In October, Eugene Yu, CEO of Konnech, would later be arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of theft of personal information on U.S. poll workers, with those charges later dropped.
A little over a month ago, an investigation published by ProPublica and The Dallas Morning News showed that Phillips and Engelbrecht had been soliciting donations for an initiative to build a mobile hospital in Ukraine to treat victims of Russia’s invasion of the country, with no hospital ever materializing. The group claimed at one point to have raised half of its goal of $25 million but said later that no significant amount of money was ever raised, according to ProPublica and The Dallas Morning News.
This was not the first time that allegations of financial improprieties would appear next to Phillips’s name.
Phillips was at one time the head of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. A year following Phillips’s resignation from the position, a joint legislative committee of the Mississippi State Legislature would accuse Phillips of a conflict of interest after finding that he worked for a company that received a contract from the department worth $878,000, according to The Clarion Ledger. Phillips would later be accused of similar conflicts of interest in Texas, profiting from a $670,000 state contract awarded to a company he founded while serving as deputy commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, according to The Houston Chronicle.
OPSEC Group, a Birmingham-based company formed by Phillips, received roughly $750,000 in 2020 from True The Vote to conduct voter analysis, according to Reveal News. CoverMe Services, a Georgia registered health care software company led by Phillips with a reporting address in Hoover, was awarded a $1.7 million contract with the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Reveal News also discovered. The group lists Engelbrecht as secretary, according to business filings from the Alabama Secretary of State’s office.