North Carolina authorities have opened an investigation into possible voter fraud by Mark Meadows related to his claim that his legal residence was a mobile home when he was serving as White House chief of staff to then-President Donald Trump, the state attorney general’s office said Thursday.
“The allegations in this case involve potential crimes committed by a government official,” wrote Macon County, North Carolina, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch in a letter Monday to the attorney general’s office asking that it designate agencies to investigate Meadows.
A spokesperson for Attorney General Josh Stein told CNBC “we have agreed to [Welch’s] request” to take over the probe.
“We have asked the [State Bureau of Investigation] to investigate and at the conclusion of the investigation, we’ll review their findings,” said Nazneen Ahmed, Stein’s spokesperson.
The probe was sparked by a New Yorker magazine article on March 6 that raised questions about the legitimacy of Meadows’ voter registration in North Carolina in September 2020. Meadows said on the registration that he lived in a mobile home in Scaly Mountain, which measures 14-by-62 feet.
The New Yorker reported that the former Republican congressperson “does not own this property and never has,” and that it was not clear if he had ever spent a single night there. Meadows’ wife, Debbie, had rented the residence once in the past several years, according to the magazine.
The magazine noted that when Mark Meadows registered to vote on Sept. 19, 2020, he listed his move-in date for the following day at the mobile home.
State law requires voters to live at their registered address for 30 days before the election in which they vote. Lying on voter registrations is a felony.
Trump, who lost his bid for re-election in November 2020 to President Joe Biden, has falsely claimed since then that he was swindled out of a second term in the White House by widespread ballot fraud in several swing states.
Meadows was on the phone line with Trump when Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger in January 2021 to “find” enough votes in that state for him to overturn Biden’s victory there.
The probe of Meadows by North Carolina authorities was first reported by The News & Observer newspaper.
Meadows was not in the office Thursday at the Conservative Partnership Institute in Washington, where he is a senior partner.
A CPI staffer said she would forward CNBC’s request for comment to Meadows’ spokesperson.
Meadows voted by absentee ballot by mail in North Carolina in the November 2020 presidential election. Trump barely won that state, by a margin of slightly more than 1%,”
In August 2020, Meadows in a CNN interview warned of the risk of fraud in mail voting. He and his wife reportedly voted in person in Virginia in the November 2021 gubernatorial election after registering to vote in that state in September 2021. The couple owns a condominium in Alexandria, Virginia.
District Attorney Welch, whose jurisdiction includes Scaly Mountain, in her letter Monday to AG Criminal Bureau Chief Leslie Cooley Dismukes, noted that the two had recently spoken about “the voter fraud allegations surrounding former Congressman and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.”
Welch asked that the AG’s office “handle both the advisement of law enforcement agencies as to any criminal investigation as any potential prosecution of Mark Meadows.”
The DA wrote that she was recusing herself from the case because she felt her office had a conflict of interest because Meadows was previously a congressperson for the 11th Congressional District, which includes Macon County.
Welch also noted that Meadows had donated to Welch’s campaign for DA in 2014 and “appeared in several political advertisements endorsing my bid.”
The DA wrote that, “Historically, I have requested the Attorney General’s Office to handle prosecutions involving alleged misconduct of government officials.”
“It is in the best interests of justice and the best interests of the people of North Carolina that the Attorney General’s office handles the prosecution of this case,” Welch wrote.
Correction: Ashley Hornsby Welch is the district attorney of Macon County, North Carolina. An earlier version misspelled her name. Brad Raffensberger is the Georgia secretary of state. An earlier version misspelled his name.