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Fact Check-William Barr had ties to Dominion Energy Inc., not electronic voting machines company Dominion Voting Systems

Online claims that a company named “Dominion” paid former U.S. Attorney General William Barr “according to SEC filings,” are missing key context. Contrary to social media posts, the company in question, Dominion Energy Inc, is different to Dominion Voting Systems, a voting software firm that was target of conspiracy theories related to their voting machines following the 2020 general election.

“Well no wonder this crooked POS can't find any voter fraud,” reads a Facebook post (here)

Other recent iterations can be found on Facebook (here) (here) (here) and Twitter (here) (here).

As evidence, users cite a 2019 Forbes article (here) entitled “How attorney general Bill Barr built a 40 million fortune.”

The highlighted extract reads: “From 2009 to 2018, Dominion paid Barr $1.2 million in cash and granted him another $1.1 million in stock awards, according to SEC filings.”

Posts fail to show, however, that the previous sentence specifies the company in question is Virginia-based energy company Dominion Energy Inc. previously named Dominion Resources. (here) (here).

BARR AND DOMINION ENERGY INC.

Barr’s relationship with Dominion Energy Inc. has been documented.

A press release from the company (here) dated Dec. 17, 2009 announced he was appointed to the board of directors. He left the position effective Feb. 12, 2019, prior to his confirmation as the United States Attorney (see corporate governance) (here) (here).

Reuters reviewed Dominion Energy’s proxy statements filed to the SEC for years between 2009 and 2018 (see “Non-employee director compensation”) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here ) (here) (here) (here) (here).

The information cited in the Forbes article appears to be a roundup of both figures. As per the data in the proxy statements, “Fees Earned or Paid In Cash” equaled $1,153,000.00 and “Stock Awards” totaled $1,145,059.00.

Unlike Dominion Energy Inc., a public traded corporation (here), Dominion Voting Systems is owned by a private company. It was acquired by private equity firm Staple Street Capital in 2018 (here) (here).

As explained by the U.S. Library of Congress, private companies don’t have to file with the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission (here).

In a 2018 financial disclosure, Barr stated he held a “director” position at Dominion Energy Inc. since 2009 (here). The company can be found listed in the document within other sections: “employment assets & income and retirement accounts”, “employment agreements and arrangements” , “sources of compensation exceeding $5,000 in a year” and “other assets and income.”

On Jan. 10, 2019, Reuters reported that as of Dec. 14, 2018 Barr held $2.8 million worth of Dominion Energy Inc stock, his largest holding (here).

In December 2020 fact-checker Snopes debunked claims that Dominion Voting Systems was among Dominion Energy Inc. subsidiaries (here). This is also untrue based on SEC filings (here) (here).

“Dominion Voting Systems has no connection to Dominion Energy. They are two separate companies,” a spokesperson for Dominion Voting Systems told Reuters via email. “Any claims about a business or financial relationship between Dominion Voting Systems and Mr. Barr are completely false,” they added.

A spokesperson for Dominion Energy Inc. did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

BARR’S DISSMISSAL OF ALLEGATIONS OF VOTER FRAUD IN THE 2020 ELECTION

On Dec. 1, 2020, Barr, the nation’s top law enforcement official under Trump, said he had not seen any evidence of fraud that would have changed the election results (here).

The misleading allegation about him appears to be recirculating after Barr testified to the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol this month, where he referred to claims of voter fraud as “bullshit” and “crazy stuff” ; and said allegations about Dominion Voting machines were “idiotic claims” (here) (see around timestamp 3:00 here).

Unfounded and debunked claims of widespread voter fraud in the U.S. 2020 presidential election continue to circulate online as the country gears up for mid-term elections that will be held in November 2022 (here).

Reuters previously debunked other false claims about Dominion Voting Systems (here) (here )( here here here).

VERDICT

Misleading. SEC filings show that between 2009 and 2019, former U.S. General Attorney William Barr received compensation from Dominion Energy Inc. – not Dominion Voting Systems – when he was a board member of the company.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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