President Donald Trump’s election commission led by voter suppression advocates won’t be able to operate in the dark if a new lawsuit is successful. Trump in May signed an executive order creating the “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity,” led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kris Kobach, who as Kansas’ secretary of state was routinely accused of advancing voter suppression efforts. The commission’s stated purpose is to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 election. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School and the Protect Democracy Project filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court in New York to compel the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Management and Budget to answer requests and disclose public information related to the commission.
The voting rights groups argue in their lawsuit that the public is legally entitled to information about operations, methods, and stated intentions of the president’s commission. The organizations assert that their requests to the agencies for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) have been ignored.
In their FOIA requests, plaintiffs had asked for all communications and documents relating to the commission and its members, or relating to any similar effort to establish a body to study allegations of voter fraud. Plaintiffs now ask the court to order the government to search for and produce the records to which they are entitled.