A federal judge has turned down an effort to force President Donald Trump’s controversial voter fraud commission to open its first official meeting to in-person, public attendance and to force disclosure of more records about the group’s work. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said there wasn’t enough indication that the panel planned to defy a federal sunshine law, particularly after the commission published thousands of pages of information online and announced plans to make more data public in a timely fashion. Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling said there was no sign that the commission’s procedures were impeding public debate about its actions, particularly a hotly-debated request that states turn over public voter registration data for study by the panel.
“There is no doubt that the Commission and its request for voter roll information have generated substantial public interest and debate. Nonetheless, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that, absent preliminary injunctive relief, its ability to engage in this public debate would be substantially impaired in a manner that is both ‘certain and great,'” wrote Kollar-Kotelly, an appointee of President Bill Clinton.
The panel is planning to meet Wednesday in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex. Commission chair Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend, which officials said presented security concerns that preclude attendance by the general public—at least for this session.