There was a surreal quality to the presidential “election integrity” commission’s first meeting on Wednesday, which was streamed live from a government building next to the White House, but was not open to the public. President Trump strode in to declare that “this is not a Democrat or Republican issue” and hail the “bipartisan” nature of a commission that’s headed by two Republicans and dominated by GOP members. He pledged a “very transparent process” that “will be open for everybody to see,” on a commission that’s already been sued for violating the disclosure and open meeting requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The commission’s official chairman, Vice President Mike Pence, quoted Ronald Reagan calling the right to vote “the crown jewel of American liberties,” then yielded the floor to commissioners who laid out an agenda focused on chasing down and prosecuting supposed voter fraud—a problem that repeated studies have found is virtually nonexistent.
Most ironic of all, several commissioners—including the panel’s vice chairman and de facto head, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach—bemoaned Americans’ lack of faith in the fairness and integrity of American elections. Yet Trump, on welcoming the group, stoked that very mistrust by issuing some of his most sweeping indictments of the U.S. election system to date.
Having previously claimed without proof that between three million and five million voters cast fraudulent ballots last year, Trump took a jab Wednesday at the more than three dozen states that have refused to fully comply with the commission’s sweeping request for reams of privileged voter-registration data—a demand that’s been put on hold while a federal judge mulls a privacy group’s request for a restraining order.
“If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they’re worried about,” declared Trump. “And I ask the vice president and I ask the commission: What are they worried about? There’s something. There always is.” Trump went on to warn ominously that “throughout the campaign and even after, people would come up to me and express their concerns about voter inconsistencies and irregularities which they saw, in some cases, having to do with very large numbers of people in certain states.”
Full Article: Kobach’s Looking-Glass Commission.