The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and Protect Democracy filed a lawsuit today in federal court in New York to compel the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Management and Budget to disclose information to which the public is entitled pertaining to the president’s “Election Integrity” Commission. The organizations filed suit after their requests to the agencies for information under the Freedom of Information Act went unanswered. The Commission has had its motives and work questioned since it was launched in May, after the president made unfounded claims that voter fraud and noncitizen voting were rampant in the 2016 election. It is co-chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has a long history of supporting — and implementing — anti-voter policies.
Plaintiffs argue in today’s filing that the public is legally entitled to information about the Commission, which has released very few details about its operations, methods, or intentions. Even commissioners themselves are being left in the dark. Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a member of the panel, said commissioners had not discussed the second request for voter data before it was sent to all 50 states.
Voters deserve to know how the Commission was put together, what its goals are, whether it has been complying with legal requirements, and how it will use the detailed personal information it has requested from local election officials. In their freedom of information requests, plaintiffs had requested all communications and documents relating to the commission and its members, or any similar effort to establish a body to study voter fraud. Plaintiffs now ask the court to order the government to search for and produce the records to which they are entitled by specified date.