A political nonprofit with ties to longtime Trump associate Roger Stone, which was supposedly created to challenge the 2020 election results, has missed two federal deadlines to disclose how much money it spent and received before and after the election. Furthermore, the law firm that employed the group's registered agent told Salon that she no longer works there, and her LinkedIn page appears deactivated.
"Committee to Stop the Steal" was registered with the federal government as a 527 tax-exempt political organization on Oct. 16, a few weeks before the election, by a clerk at a Southern California personal injury firm called Jensen & Associates. The IRS does not require 527 groups to disclose their donors, but it does mandate that they publicize how much money they raise and spend, including in post-election and year-end reports. Committee to Stop the Steal has missed the deadlines for both.
Jensen & Associates is led by Paul Rolf Jensen, a friend of Stone's who has represented the right-wing provocateur in an array of matters for at least two decades. The firm's website appears to have been unattended in recent months, but an archived version from last February does not mention political work. While Jensen himself isn't listed on the IRS registration for the Committee to Stop the Steal, the group's listed address is a UPS Store mailbox located near the firm's physical address, and its custodian of records, Ashley Maderos, worked at Jensen for a time as a post-bar law clerk.
When Salon called to inquire about the missed deadlines, an unidentified employee of the firm said that Maderos no longer worked there, but would not say when she left, where she went or what had become of the nonprofit. Maderos also appears to have taken down her LinkedIn profile, which has not been archived but was active as recently as Jan. 29. Multiple attempts to contact her went unanswered.
Maderos' LinkedIn page also noted that she had worked for a time as an intern for former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican notorious for being "Putin's best friend in Congress." Rohrabacher reportedly worked with Stone in an attempt to get former President Trump to pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and upon retirement from Congress took up lobbying for a biotech firm run by a Republican fundraiser who worked with one of Stone's super PACs. Jensen & Associates is located in California's 48th congressional district, which Rohrabacher represented for many years.
In 2016, Jensen represented Stone when his earlier incarnation of Stop the Steal was sued for voter intimidation. Stone created that group in April 2016, and registered it at another UPS dropbox in the same area. Jensen was also on the payroll for Stone's Committee to Restore American Greatness, which ultimately became a target of former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in that same election.
The precise whereabouts of Ashley Maderos could well be of interest to federal investigators now seeking to untangle the roots of the Jan. 6 insurrection. In recent weeks prosecutors have expanded the scope of indictments to include conspiracy charges. Details are still unclear about who bankrolled the effort, which in part required coordinating numerous loosely affiliated conservative and militia groups from across the country.
Stone's first Stop the Steal nonprofit raised and spent tens of thousands of dollars in anticipation of defending Trump through a contested 2016 GOP primary, and then, after he won the nomination, challenging a possible Hillary Clinton victory in the general election, neither of which proved necessary. The group was accused of suppressing minority votes in that election and terminated its registration with the IRS in early 2017. But Stone, a Florida resident, reactivated the movement in 2018 to protect then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott's narrow victory in his midterm U.S. Senate race against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. Stone got help at the time from fellow convicted felon Ali Alexander (formerly Ali Akbar), an itinerant provocateur who helped recruit for that effort and went on to play a central role in organizing the 2020 Stop the Steal movement. Alexander went into hiding after the riot and has so far not been accused of a crime.
The night before a mob of thousands of Trump diehards laid siege to the Capitol, Stone gave a pump-up speech at a rally hosted by Alexander, who noted early in the evening that "It was Roger Stone who coined the term first: Stop the Steal," but laid claim to being the "founder of the movement." But when Stone, escorted by bodyguards from the Oath Keepers anti-government militia group, delivered his keynote address a few hours later, he clarified that Alexander had only "revived the Stop the Steal movement." It was, at its heart, a Roger Stone production.