Elise Stefanik’s Latest VP Audition? Seeking to Have Letitia James Disbarred.

In her latest apparent bid to secure her place as Trump’s running mate, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) has filed an ethics complaint against New York Attorney General Letitia James.Michael Brochstein/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.The Trump veepstakes rages on. The latest apparent audition? Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) on Monday filed an ethics complaint against New York Attorney General Letitia James over her handling of the state’s $370 million civil fraud trial against Trump. 
Stefanik, the fourth-highest-ranking House Republican and chair of the House GOP Conference, alleges that James conducted a “biased investigation and prosecution” of Trump that was motivated by “personal vendetta.” The formal complaint seeks to have James disbarred or suspended, a request that echoes Trump’s claims that James has long demonstrated bias against him. The move by Stefanik comes as Trump reportedly considers her as a potential running mate and days before the judge who presided over the case is reportedly expected to issue his final ruling over how much Trump owes. (Judge Arthur Engoron—who Stefanik also filed an ethics complaint against in November—already found Trump liable for fraud before the trial got underway, and the court proceedings that are the subject of Stefanik’s complaint essentially amounted to a penalty phase.)
Accordingly, Stefanik’s complaint reads like a document intended to appeal to Trump’s complaints about the case, which could end in significant financial damage to the former president. Stefanik cites James’ own description of “leading the resistance against Donald Trump in NYC” as evidence of James’ alleged bias against the former president. Stefanik declined, however, to include the full facts of what transpired during the court proceedings, including Trump’s repeated attacks against the federal judge and his clerk, the resulting gag order, and subsequent violations of that order.
As my colleague Russ Choma reported at the time, James filed the lawsuit against Trump back in September 2022, accusing him “of committing a variety of fraudulent business practices for a decade in the run-up and during his presidency.” James alleged that Trump and his adult children inflated the value of their family businesses to get tax breaks and beneficial terms for loans and insurance coverage. 
Spokespeople for Stefanik and the New York State Unified Court System didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Mother Jones. A spokesperson for the New York Attorney General’s office declined to comment on the record. 
This is hardly the first time Stefanik has made headlines for her seemingly undying loyalty to Trump. She recently refused to commit to certifying the November election results. During an appearance on Meet the Press last month, she repeated the unfounded and discredited conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen before noting that she’d “be honored to serve in any capacity in a Trump administration.” As I reported then, her parroting of Trump’s “Big Lie” was unsurprising, based on her political evolution:
The onetime moderate, who at one point called Trump misogynistic, rose to her position as the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House by riding this very wave of election denialism, successfully booting Liz Cheney from the post in the process. And in the hours after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Stefanik was one of 147 Republicans who voted to overturn election results. 
But the odds of Stefanik becoming Trump’s right-hand woman may be a bit bleaker now than back in January, given that Sen. Tim Scott has landed at the top of Trump’s list, according to an NBC News report published yesterday.