Skip Navigation

Unsealed records show new details of Rep. Scott Perry’s efforts to help overturn 2020 election results

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., is followed by reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022.

 Susan Walsh / AP Photo

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., is followed by reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022.

Unsealed records provide more insight into midstate GOP Congressman Scott Perry’s efforts to help former President Donald Trump remain in power despite losing the 2020 election.

Politico reports a court opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals was unsealed with records related to his attempts to prevent the federal government from accessing his cell phone that it seized last year. The news organization reports the opinion appeared to have been removed from the court’s public docket last night.

The unsealed document contains records Perry was court-ordered to turn over. The document includes a reference to communications with state representatives Mike Jones, Dawn Keefer and Seth Grove, and state senators Cris Dush, Kristin Hill, and Doug Mastriano.

John Rowley, an attorney for Perry, criticized the release, telling Politico the texts “reflect (Perry’s) efforts to understand real-time information about the 2020 election. They were confidential and intended to address critical business before Congress in service of his constituents.”

The documents reveal communications between Perry and others taking part in false claims the 2020 election was fraudulent, as well as the congressman’s effort to have Jeff Clark, an environmental  lawyer who was an acting assistant attorney general,  named Attorney General — even though then-President Trump only had a few weeks remaining in his term.

Testimony to the congressional Jan. 6 committee showed Clark, if appointed AG, had agreed to falsely say the justice department had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States,” including Georgia. Clark faces criminal charges in Georgia related to the effort to overturn legal election results. Prosecutors there say he had been told by top department officials that the central claim in his letter was false, The Associated Press reported.

In the unsealed document, Perry’s communications with state legislators are listed in a footnote by topics described by Perry, including:

  • Proposed plans for the State Senate to request that the Governor and Secretary of State to conduct an audit
  • Voting data from various Pennsylvania counties
  • a “whistleblower” who served as an IT analyst for the Pennsylvania Office of Administration providing information about voter fraud
  • a resolution introduced in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives on or about November 30, 2020, declaring the state election results to be in dispute

Perry argued that his texts should not be made public because of Congress’ “Speech and Debate Clause,” privilege. He claimed he was gathering information to determine “whether there were enough unlawful votes to question the outcome of the election” and figure out whether to certify the 2020 results.

In January 2023, Judge Beryl A. Howell ordered the release of more than 2,000 texts.

Citing court precedent, Howell wrote the clause “does not shield Rep. Perry’s random musings with private individuals touting an expertise in cybersecurity or political discussions with attorneys from a presidential campaign, or with state legislators concerning hearings before them about possible local election fraud or actions they could take to challenge election results in Pennsylvania, because those communications are just ‘casually or incidentally related to legislative affairs but not a part of the legislative process itself’ … including the (Electoral Count Act) process.” 

The texts Perry turned over include:

  • A “message from Rep. Thompson, as part of a group conversation with Republican House Members from Pennsylvania,” about a draft letter to the governor, attorney general and secretary of state related to “how the commonwealth has handled the [2020] general election” and urging those state officials to take certain election-related actions;
  • A text from U.S. Rep Chip Roy on Nov. 7, 2020, asking if there is evidence of voter fraud. Perry replied, “We do
    in Michigan. 6,000 votes.” (In fact, no voter fraud was found in Michigan.)
  • Messages referring to a Dec. 19 letter from state legislators to Vice President Mike Pence asking him to
    “weigh the validity of purported Electors and Electoral votes representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
  • A Dec. 30, 2020 exchange with Clark, which Perry told Clark “POTUS seems very happy with your response. I read it just as you dictated.” Clark wrote back, “I’m praying. This makes me quite nervous. And wonder if I’m worthy or ready.” Perry responded, “You are the man. I have confirmed it. God does what he does for a reason[,]”.
  • Clark later asked Perry to help him get security clearance. Perry responded, “POTUS is giving you a presidential security clearance.”

The congressman’s phone was seized by the FBI in August 2022, and since then, he has attempted to block prosecutors from accessing the files it contained.

The seizure was part of a federal investigation into Trump’s post-election activities to stay in office by overturning the election results.

Perry represents the 10th congressional district, which encompasses Dauphin County and portions of Cumberland and York Counties.

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Regional & State News

Charges dismissed against 3 emergency management supervisors in 2020 death