Claim: 'The GOP lawyer who helped Kanye West get on the ballot in Wisconsin is actively working for Donald Trump's campaign.'
Kanye West this week upped the ante in an already interesting campaign season for Wisconsin.
On Aug. 4, the rapper made a last-ditch effort to get on the ballot for the Nov. 3 presidential election. West said in July that he would run for president under the “Birthday Party” and has since targeted ballots in several states — including key swing states like Wisconsin.
It remains unclear whether West obtained enough signatures to secure his spot — or if his campaign even filed the paperwork in time. But the attempt has stirred controversy across the state and country.
“The GOP lawyer who helped @kanyewest get on the ballot in Wisconsin is actively working for @realDonaldTrump’s campaign,” stated an Aug. 5, 2020 Instagram post. The account that posted declined further comment.
Let’s dig in.
Kanye and the Wisconsin GOP
The Instagram post, viewed more than 32,000 times, shows a screen grab of a tweet from singer-songwriter John Legend that quotes a tweet by Vice reporter Cameron Joseph.
“Just in case anyone needs some clarity around what’s happening here,” Legend wrote.
Joseph tweeted the statement on Aug. 4, the day signatures were due in Wisconsin.
According to an article from Joseph in Vice, the person seen dropping off West’s paperwork was Lane Ruhland, a lawyer who previously worked for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. Matt Smith, a reporter for WISN-TV in Milwaukee, tweeted a video of Ruhland walking into the state Election Commission’s building a few minutes after the 5 p.m. filing deadline.
Ruhland is also representing Trump’s campaign in a lawsuit against the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA and a Rhinelander, Wisconsin, TV station, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Daniel Bice, of the Journal Sentinel, also noted that some of West’s 10 electors, who must pledge to vote for the rapper in the Electoral College if he wins Wisconsin, appear to be Trump supporters and Republican activists.
"We welcome Kanye West and all other candidates who qualified for ballot access to the race," state GOP spokeswoman Alesha Guenther told the Journal Sentinel this week.
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The New York Times has reported that Republicans around the country have been eager to give West's campaign a helping hand. Democrats, by contrast, have been working hard to keep him off the ballot, especially in swing states like Wisconsin.
That's because a West candidacy could siphon away votes from former Vice President Joe Biden, who has clinched the Democratic presidential nomination and will face Trump in November.
Our ruling: True
We rate this claim TRUE because it is supported by our research. West lined up help from several Republicans in Wisconsin in his effort to appear on Wisconsin’s presidential ballot, including a GOP lawyer who’s representing the Trump campaign in a federal lawsuit.
Our fact-check sources
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kanye West hires firm to get on November presidential ballot in Wisconsin, Aug. 4, 2020.
Cameron Joseph, tweet, Aug. 4, 2020.
Vice, A Well-Connected GOP Strategist Is Helping Kanye West Get on the Ballot in Wisconsin, Aug. 4, 2020.
Matt Smith, tweet, Aug. 4, 2020.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bice: Wisconsin Republicans help Kanye West in his attempt to get on state presidential ballot, Aug. 4, 2020.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bice: Did Kanye West file his nomination papers in time to get on the Wisconsin ballot? Maybe not, Aug. 6, 2020.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump lawyer helped Kanye West try to get on Wisconsin’s ballot