Cleta Mitchell is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Foley & Lardner. She has been called "one of the GOP's top election lawyers over the last quarter of a century" and "the conservative movement's anti-gay eminence grise." Mitchell serves of the board of many conservative groups, such as the American Conservative Union, The Institute for Free Speech (formerly called the Center for Competitive Politics) and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Additionally, she has served as counsel for Republican groups, such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, as well as the general counsel for the National Rifle Association.
Mitchell began her career as a "liberal Democrat" in the Oklahoma State House from 1976 to 1984 where she was the first woman in the U.S. to chair the state appropriations and budget committee and "a driving force behind the passage of Oklahoma's Equal Rights Amendment." But in by 1996, Mitchell had switched to the Republican party.
Defending Scott Pruitt
The paperwork to start the scandal-ridden former head of the EPA Scott Pruitt's legal defense fund was filed by Mitchell who also served as Pruitt's attorney. According to E&E News that fund did not become "active" until 2018. The only contribution to that fund in 2018 came from millionaire Diane Hendricks. Mitchell was an active part of defending Scott Pruitt after ethics and campaign finance violation allegations surfaced during his tenure at the EPA, in a National Review article, Mitchell called Pruitt's scandals which ultimately led to Pruitt's resignation, "a manufactured crisis, punctuated by false or exaggerated accusations."
- Cleta Mitchell In Defense of Scott Pruitt National Review June 28, 2018
- Jonathan Allen Republicans had a secret weapon in the Florida recount fight NBC News Nov. 18, 2018
- JONATHAN KROHN the conservative movement's anti-gay eminence griseThe Atlantic April 4, 2013
- Kevin Bogardus Documents: How Pruitt launched his legal defense fundE&E News Oct. 4, 2018
- Timothy Kama GOP donor gave Pruitt $50,000 for legal defense The Hill Dec. 6 2018
- Cleta Mitchell A Defense of Scott Pruitt National Review June 28, 2018