Donor Sues Pro-Trump Group for $2.5 Million for Failing to Prove Voter Fraud

A North Carolina money manager is suing a pro-Trump group for $2.5 million after the group failed to show evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election or provide him with updates on their efforts.

Fred Eshelman donated the money to True the Vote Inc., a Houston-based organization, which had promised to "investigate, litigate, and expose suspected illegal balloting and fraud in the 2020 general election," according to Bloomberg.

Eshelman, who is the founder of Eshelman Ventures LLC, now wants his money back because True the Vote did not provide him with information about their progress and he believes they can't achieve what they claimed.

True the Vote filed four lawsuits following the election on November 3 but has subsequently dropped all of them.

"While we stand by the voters' testimony that was brought forth, barriers to advancing our arguments, coupled with constraints on time, made it necessary for us to pursue a different path," the group announced on its website on November 17.

Their attempt to challenge the election results was called Validate the Vote and was to involve lawsuits in seven swing states. They also planned to collect evidence, lobby Republican legislatures and use "sophisticated data modeling and statistical analysis to identify potential illegal or fraudulent balloting."

Eshelman wired the group $2 million on November 5 and then sent them a further $500,000 the following week but True the Vote did not provide him with updates on their activities. He claimed he regularly asked for information but was "met with vague responses, platitudes, and empty promises."

As state deadlines for the certification of votes approached, Eshelman reportedly realized the group couldn't achieve what they claimed and so asked for his donation back.

True the Vote offered him $1 million if he agreed not to sue, his complaint alleges. His suit against them has now been filed in District Court in the Southern District of Texas.

It's not clear at this early stage if Eshelman's case will succeed but the veteran businessman appears to have the necessary funds to pursue his complaint. In 2014, he donated $100 million to the School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he was a student.

Several conservative groups have made fundraising pitches based on unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the presidential election, including President Donald Trump's campaign.

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud or irregularities during the 2020 election despite the Trump campaign's ongoing and largely unsuccessful litigation efforts.

Supporters of President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside of the Wyndham Gettysburg hotel prior to a Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee public hearing Wednesday to discuss 2020 election issues and irregularities with President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani on November 25, 2020 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Giuliani is continuing his push to overturn election results in the courts. There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud so far. Samuel Corum/Getty Images