Was President Donald Trump’s controversial “election integrity” commission shut down because its secret inner workings and true purpose were about to be exposed? In an exclusive interview with WhoWhatWhy, Matt Dunlap, one of the few Democrats on the commission and the man who successfully sued for internal documents to be released, says he believes the answer is “yes.” Though Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State, was appointed to the commission, he was denied access to documents and kept in the dark about its work after he criticized the tactics of its vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach is an architect of many voter suppression measures and has perpetuated the myth that there is a “voter fraud epidemic.” Shortly after Dunlap won a lawsuit on the issue, and a court ruled that he has a right to the information, Trump pulled the plug on the commission. The Department of Justice then notified Dunlap that, as a result, it would no longer provide him with access to the documents. Undeterred, Dunlap says he’ll continue fighting on behalf of the public’s right to this information, even if it means heading back to court.
In a wide-ranging exclusive interview, Dunlap gives WhoWhatWhy the inside story of what went down behind the scenes and fuels the suspicion of election-integrity experts that the true purpose of the commission was a national voter suppression effort aimed to help Republicans.
While the shutdown of the commission was widely hailed as a victory over those like Kobach and former Federal Election Commission member Hans von Spakovsky, who want to put in place federal voting restrictions, the truth is more troubling.
The advisory panel may have been shuttered, but Trump has asked the Department of Homeland Security to continue its mission — away from the prying eyes of the public.
We felt that Dunlap’s account of what happened is so powerful and important that we decided to print it (with light edits for clarity) in its entirety. You will not want to miss reading it.