According to a new whistleblower lawsuit against the election data firm, Konnech Inc. and its founder Eugene Yu Konnech transferred American poll workers’ data to China, and those allegations raise important questions about the FBI’s involvement in the investigation of Konnech and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office’s decision to drop its criminal case against Yu.
A complaint was filed in December in Michigan state court under oath, by a former employee of Konnech, Grant Bradley, who provided an insider’s view of the operations of the election data firm that showed “election logistic software” to 32 clients in North America, using “developers, designers and coders” who “are all Chinese nationals based out of Wuhan, China.”
Bradley claims in the new complaint that he “worked with the Chinese programmers on a daily basis,” and that he “witnessed customer’s data (specifically poll watcher information) being made accessible to foreign nationals from China.” When he raised concerns about foreign nationals having access to the data, Bradley alleges his supervisors said that “everyone [other software companies like Microsoft and Apple] was doing it.”
The update reflects a change in Bradley’s claims,of September 2022, when he said he “did not know the full extent of the information provided to the Chinese nationals.”
Margot Cleveland reported on the update for the Federalist:
Konnech’s lawsuit against True the Vote followed a series of podcasts the organization’s founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, and a former board member who works closely with her, Gregg Phillips, participated in starting in August of 2022. During those podcasts, the duo claimed they had been assisting the FBI to expose Konnech’s purported use of a server in China to store election workers’ personal identifying information. In one podcast, they announced they were working with people “to bring this work to, to a grand jury for the first time,” and that they have the “support of, of a major prosecutorial office in the United States … and [that] they are moving this along.”
After True the Vote began making allegations against Konnech, Bradley alleged in his complaint that he “began to investigate the extent of the information provided to the Chinese programmers by Defendants Yu and Konnech.” Bradley claimed he then “immediately set out to find alternative work,” but had been unable to find a new job before police raided Konnech on Oct. 4, 2022.
Following Yu’s arrest, Bradley alleged that he “was told by his supervisors not to speak with the police or cooperate in their investigation of Defendants Yu and Konnech’s activities,” but Bradley said he “ignored the directive of his supervisors.” Instead, Bradley claims, he “asked to meet with the police on the day of the raid so that he could provide them with handwritten notes and other electronic evidence he believes further substantiates Defendants’ illegal activities.”
Within days of Bradley’s decision to cooperate with police, Yu and Konnech fired him, according to the complaint, which then alleged a claim under the Michigan Whistleblowers’ Protection Act and a claim for wrongful termination under state law.
Bradley’s lawsuit included two other allegations of note.
First, Bradley alleged that “the decision of Defendants to illegally store information on servers housed in China” had ruined his reputation. That allegation suggests that Konnech had, in fact, stored data on “servers housed in China,” and that possibility resurrects concerns over the FBI’s involvement in the investigation of Konnech, as well as the L.A. district attorney’s decision to drop the criminal charges it had brought against Yu.
The L.A. County D.A.’s office was also working with True the Vote and had indicted Yu following an independent investigation launched based on evidence that Phillips had shared with county officials. And that indictment led to Yu’s arrest in Michigan and Bradley’s cooperation with investigating officers.
Following Yu’s arrest, the L.A. County D.A.’s office issued a press release stating that Konnech had “stored on servers in the People’s Republic of China” the personal information of election workers, in violation of the county’s $2.9 million, five-year contract that required Konnech to securely maintain the data and only allow United States citizens and permanent residents to have access to it.
Soon after news of Yu’s arrest broke, True the Vote publicly revealed it had assisted with the investigation, and that apparently prompted the L.A. County D.A. to backpedal on the case against Yu. Rather than unseal the indictment it had reportedly obtained against Yu, the L.A. County prosecutor charged Yu with two crimes in a criminal complaint, namely conspiring to commit a felony and the fraudulent appropriation of public funds.
Unlike the press release, in which the L.A. County D.A. had accused Yu of storing poll workers’ data on a Chinese server, the criminal complaint alleged only that Yu, on behalf of Konnech, had allowed third-party contractors based in China to access American election workers’ personal data. Then, less than a month later, the L.A. County D.A. dropped the charges against Yu, explaining its decision flowed from a “concern[ed] about both the pace of the investigation and the potential bias in the presentation and investigation of the evidence.”