Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has filed a federal lawsuit against President Trump’s voter fraud commission in an effort to obtain information and correspondence about the commission’s work. Dunlap, one of four Democrats on the 11-member Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, filed the lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, more than three weeks after requesting the information. Despite the fact that he is a member of the commission, Dunlap says he has been kept in the dark about what it is doing. The lawsuit alleges that the commission’s chairman, Vice President Mike Pence, and vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, are in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which prohibits the body from excluding commissioners from deliberations and information. The Executive Office of the President is also a named defendant, as the office is staffing the commission and maintaining its records. “Since the Sept. 12 meeting, I have received no correspondence from the commission other than to acknowledge receipt of my information request” of October 17, Dunlap said in a prepared statement. “Clearly, there is information about this commission being created and discussed, but I have no access to that information and it has not been provided upon request.”
Dunlap said his goal in filing the lawsuit is to bring the commission into compliance with federal law, which would allow him to fulfill his role on the commission and participate in providing a report to the president. He told the Press Herald he decided to send his Oct. 17 records request after learning from a reporter that a commission staffer had been arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. Dunlap said he hadn’t even been aware that the staffer, Ronald Williams II, had been hired.
“I was like: I need to know what’s happening, what we’re working on,” he said in an interview Thursday. “So I sent the letter and heard nothing for about 10 days, and then they acknowledged the letter and said they have to review my request with counsel! And I sent a couple more emails and said, ‘I just want to know what we’re doing. I’m not trying to get the nuclear codes or anything.’”