It’s been a year since Joe Biden was sworn in as president, but pillow magnate Mike Lindell is still spending big to promote election crackdowns and to support Donald Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was rigged. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Lindell says he’s bleeding cash at a rate of a million dollars a month to support a host of groups and right-wing activists.
To add to the bill, the staunch Trump ally says he is shelling out a quarter million dollars a month for a new election conspiracy group, Cause of America. What makes this Lindell creation unique is that the group is fronted by two women who were in attendance at the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Lindell’s hefty monthly burn rate and the addition of a new group to his portfolio of prolific “Big Lie” activism shows that, months after Arizona’s six million dollar audit circus failed to provide much more than embarrassing headlines, there’s still plenty of money available for conservative activists bent on re-litigating the 2020 election with bizarre voter-fraud and election-rigging allegations.
The January 6 experience of two of the group’s executives, Ashe Epp and Holly Kasun, also highlights how, a year after the insurrection, veterans of the “Stop the Steal” rallies and Capitol riot are now welcome not just to participate in the conservative movement’s election activism, but to lead it, as well.
“I am paying all the payroll for Cause of America,” Lindell told The Daily Beast. The Trump-aligned MyPillow honcho says he is still spending money at a roughly “million-a-month burn rate” to support an array of like-minded individuals and causes fueled by Trump’s “Big Lie.” Though Lindell did not provide documentation for these claims, he said in an interview that he gave $1.1 million last month, and $1.4 million in November.
“Cause of America is our website. I wanted to form a go-to hub,” Lindell continued, explaining the purpose of the group and site. “It’s an information hub, and it’s a communication hub. Anyone who wants to reach our network can reach us at Cause of America. Think of it as a library of evidence and information…There are groups in almost all of the 50 states that we’re working with, and Cause of America is just one way we all keep connected.”
So far, however, it’s hard to tell where, exactly, that kind of money would have gone. The group’s website hosts only links to election-related news, court documents from various lawsuits attempting to overturn the 2020 election, and a generic form where potential volunteers can “offer [their] expertise” or “connect” with Lindell’s outfit.
Lindell announced the launch of Cause of America during a 96-hour telethon on Frankspeech alongside Epp and Kasun, who before leading his group were two election-conspiracy theorists involved with the Colorado-based U.S. Election Integrity Plan (USEIP).
Under Epp and Kasun’s leadership, USEIP went on a bizarre quest for fraudulent ballots in August 2021, using voter rolls to go door-to-door asking registered voters whether they voted in the 2020 election and who they voted for in an attempt to prove fraud in the state (where no Republican presidential candidate has won since 2004).
The group has also promoted a lawsuit by a Colorado Republican state senator against Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold demanding a “full forensic audit” of the 2020 election, similar to the one carried out by MAGA activists in Arizona.
Lindell turned to USIEP’s co-founders, whom he did not meet until this past fall, after sifting through a variety of resumes for the positions. The two new Cause of America executives join a small but growing group of January 6 attendees who are rededicating themselves to grassroots activism and even running for office in pursuit of many of the insurrection’s goals.
Neither Epp nor Kasun have been arrested or charged with a crime in connection to the riot and neither responded to questions from The Daily Beast. But both have been open about their presence at the Capitol on January 6.
Epp, Cause of America’s director of partnership operations, joined rioters on the west face of the Capitol next to scaffolding set up for Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“I never hid the fact that I was at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6th,” Epp wrote in a blog post last year and added that she’s “actually gone out of my way to make my story of the alleged insurrection well known among my personal and professional contacts.”
She claims she “did nothing wrong” and “was gassed by the U.S. Government when I was nowhere near violence and without warning.” In a subsequent interview with the Colorado Times Recorder reporter, Epp said that she “was on the back side of the Capitol, where people were breaking in through windows.”
A review of Epp’s since-deleted Parler account—found in a scrape of the social media account’s posts shortly after the insurrection—shows Epp mocking police on January 6 and the day after. “All they did was give me a free, airborne chemical peel,” Epp wrote in a reference to being exposed to tear gas at the Capitol. “My girls and I are laughing so hard we almost penced ourselves,” she added, using the former Vice President’s last name as an epithet.
Throughout the day of the insurrection, Epp’s Parler account alternated between criticism of Republican lawmakers for their failure to object to counting electoral votes—“They really have no idea what’s coming #treason”—to a mixture of conspiracy theories about antifa being behind the riot and justifications of the violence, regardless. “You don’t back a lion into a corner”
“This is the very bested [sic] part,” Epp commented on Parler next to a picture of lawmakers ducking for cover underneath benches in the Capitol rotunda on January 6. “When I heard about this, it made the teargas a badge of honor,”
In the wake of the riot, Epp wrote that detectives from Colorado’s Joint Terrorism Task Force visited her at her home to ask questions about her whereabouts on that day and showed her pictures of her Parler posts as well as her at the Captiol but that she “declined to answer most of their questions.”
Kasun, Epp’s Cause of America colleague, was more measured about her activities at the Capitol on January 6 in an interview with Colorado’s KOAA News. Kasun painted a picture of the Capitol steps that day as filled with families and people who “were just waving flags, they were talking, there were chants.”
Kasun denounced what she characterized as a small number of people who engaged in violence at the Capitol but said she was against the use of force and was willing to help “identify those people.”