Cleta B. Deatherage Mitchell was born on September 16, 1950, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She received a B.A. in 1973 and a J.D. in 1975, both from the University of Oklahoma. As a student, she was a proponent of the women's rights movement and campaigned for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. She considered US Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine her role model.
Mitchell was elected in 1976 and served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives until 1984, representing District 44 as a member of the Democratic Party. In her second term, Mitchell chaired the Oklahoma House Appropriations and Budget Committee. She served on the executive committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and was a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics in 1981.
## Change of allegiance
She unsuccessfully ran for Oklahoma lieutenant governor in 1986. In 1996, Mitchell switched her political affiliation from Democratic to independent, and then to [Republican](https://doctorparadox.net/the-gop-is-3-cults-in-a-trenchcoat/). In 1991, she moved to Washington, D.C., to become a pro-term limits activist and was named executive director of the Term Limits Legal Institute. She was co-counsel for the petitioners in the U.S. Supreme Court case U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, in which the Court held that the federal Constitution precluded state governments from imposing term limits for federal office.
Until January 2021, Mitchell was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Foley & Lardner, resigning due to legal concerns about her involvement in the call [[Donald Trump]] made to [attempt reversal of the Georgia certified votes in the 2020 election](https://github.com/doctorparadox/historical-texts/tree/master/january-6/GA-Fulton-County-Grand-Jury). She has served as legal counsel for numerous Republican committees and politicians, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the [[Council for National Policy (CNP)]], and the [[National Rifle Association (NRA)]]. She has represented various Republican Senators and Representatives.
Mitchell has been on the boards of numerous [[conservative]] organizations, including the Bradley Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the American Conservative Union Foundation, and the Republican National Lawyers Association. She played a major role in efforts to expel GOProud (a pro-gay rights Republican group) from the Conservative Political Action Conference, a major annual right-wing convention organized by the ACU. Mitchell has been a leading critic of the IRS, accusing the agency of targeting [[Tea Party]] groups.
## Georgia election overthrow call
In 2021, following Joe Biden's win in the 2020 presidential election, Mitchell aided Donald Trump in his efforts to overturn the election results and pressure election officials to "find" sufficient votes for him to win. After participating in a telephone call in which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to alter the election results in Georgia, Mitchell set up an escrow fund to funnel money to companies conducting a pro-Trump "audit" into Arizona's 2020 election.
As of 2023, she continues to be involved in conservative politics and so-called ["election integrity" efforts](https://newrepublic.com/article/166778/cleta-mitchell-trump-lawyer-2022-midterm-elections).