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A group of voters filed a challenge with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger seeking to remove U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from the ballot. The challenge hinges on her statements before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and a section of the 14th amendment that bars people from serving in office if they engaged in insurrection.
According to Georgia law, Raffensperger was required to forward the challenge to an administrative law judge who held a hearing in the case April 22. The judge will issue a recommendation and then Raffensperger will make a decision.
As governor, Brian Kemp has no role in this process.
A day before a court hearing on whether U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., should be removed from the ballot in her bid for reelection, former President Donald Trump accused two prominent Republican officials of trying to unseat the congresswoman. Greene is an ally of Trump.
"The Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, and Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, perhaps in collusion with the Radical Left Democrats, have allowed a horrible thing to happen to a very popular Republican, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene," Trump wrote in an April 21 statement. "She is now going through hell in their attempt to unseat her, just more of an election mess in Georgia…"
Trump appears to be referencing a challenge filed by Free Speech for People, a group of voters seeking to remove Greene from the ballot. Greene, who has promoted falsehoods that Democrats stole the 2020 election, faces multiple primary challengers in the Republican-leaning district.
The group says that Greene’s statements before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol should disqualify her under a section of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which says that public officials cannot serve in future federal, state, or military office if they engaged in "insurrection or rebellion."
As secretary of state, Raffensperger is required under state law to forward any such voter challenge to an administrative law judge. A judge held a hearing on the matter on April 22, which was underway as of this writing.
We asked Trump’s spokesperson for their evidence that Kemp and Raffensperger colluded with Democrats to remove Greene and did not receive a response by our deadline. We found no evidence to support that theory.
Trump has targeted the Georgia Republican officials after they didn’t go along with his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Raffensperger and Kemp certified the results, as required by state law. Trump is backing Republican challengers to both officials — former U.S. Sen. David Perdue is running against Kemp, while U.S. Rep. Jody Hice is running against Raffensperger in the May 24 primary.
Greene has not been charged with any offenses stemming from the Jan. 6 attack. The challenge filed by the voters relies on statements Greene made, such as the day before the Capitol attack, calling for a "1776 moment" — a nod to the American Revolution.
During the April 22 hearing, Greene said she was calling for a "peaceful" demonstration and not violence.
A judge rejected a similar effort to bar U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., from running for reelection, but the case is under appeal. Challenges have also been filed related to the candidacy of some Arizona Republicans.
Under Georgia law, a voter may file a written challenge with the secretary of state. The official must then refer the matter to an administrative law judge, who reports their findings to the secretary of state. Then the secretary of state "shall determine if the candidate is qualified to seek and hold the public office" and can remove the candidate’s name from the ballot. If the ballots have already been printed, notices are placed at polling places advising voters of the disqualification of the candidate.
So far, then, Raffensperger has followed the process required under state law. It doesn’t mean he agrees with the challenge; he’s simply obligated to pass the complaint on to a judge. In fact, state law would have allowed Raffensperger to challenge Greene’s candidacy directly — but he didn’t do that.
"In sum, we have had no active role in the challenge to (Greene’s) candidacy at this point," said Raffensperger’s spokesperson, Ari Schaffer. "Considering we make the final decision, it would be inappropriate to comment early on in the process."
Meanwhile, we found no evidence that Kemp would play a role in this process at all. We emailed a spokesperson for Kemp to ask if he had taken any action and did not receive a response by our deadline.
Attorneys for the voters who filed the challenge told PolitiFact they had no evidence to support Trump’s charge of collusion..
"The governor has no role in the process," Ron Fein, legal director for Free Speech for People, told PolitiFact. "Counsel for petitioners have not interacted with Kemp at all, or Raffensperger except through the bureaucratic technicality that the complaint was filed with him."
Trump said Kemp and Raffensperger "perhaps in collusion with the Radical Left Democrats" are attempting to "unseat" Greene.
A group of voters filed a challenge with Raffensperger to remove Greene from the ballot. Under state law, Raffensperger is required to forward that challenge to an administrative law judge, and he did so. As governor, Kemp has no role in this process.
We rate this statement False.
RELATED: All of our fact-checks of Trump
Liz Harrington of Save America, Tweet, April 21, 2022
Georgia state law, 2006 Georgia Code - 21-2-5
Georgia Public Radio reporter Stephen Fowler, Tweet, April 21, 2022
Free Speech for People, Notice of candidacy challenge filed in Georgia, March 24, 2022
Open Secrets, Georgia Congressional District 14, 2022
Washington Post, Dissecting the bid to disqualify Marjorie Taylor Greene for insurrection, April 20, 2022
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marjorie Greene expected to testify in hearing on challenge to her candidacy, April 21, 2022
AP, Marjorie Taylor Greene’s candidacy challenged at hearing, April 22, 2022
Daily Mail, Trump says Marjorie Taylor Greene is 'going through hell' with the bid from Georgia voters to kick her off the ballot and claims Gov. Brian Kemp is 'in collusion' with the 'Radical Left Democrats' April 21, 2022
Carolina Public Press, Legal challenge to Cawthorn candidacy continues, April 15, 2022
New York Times, Legal Effort Expands to Disqualify Republicans as ‘Insurrectionists’ April 7, 2022
Wall Street Journal, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Defends Actions Ahead of Jan. 6 Riot, April 22, 2022
PolitiFact, Unpacking the theory that the 14th Amendment could keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office in 2024, Feb. 4, 2022
Email interview, Ari Schaffer, spokesperson for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, April 21, 2022
Email interview, Ron Fein, legal director for Free Speech for People, April 22, 2022
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