A commission that President Donald Trump tasked with investigating his own unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud won’t meet again this year, according to court records, fueling more questions about the panel’s future and its viability. In an order Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said a Justice Department attorney told the court Friday that the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity “will not meet in December.” Federal rules require such committee meetings to be announced 15 days in advance, except for emergencies, so no meeting seems feasible this month, Asked about the lawyer’s reported statement Monday, the White House declined to comment on the record. However, an administration official acknowledged that a meeting of the commission before the end of the year was “unlikely.”
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is increasing the pressure on President Trump’s election fraud commission to release documents he says have been withheld from him. Dunlap, who is a member of the president’s commission, announced Thursday that he has asked a federal court for an injunction in his request that is designed to force the commission to share records and meeting materials. If granted, the injunction would shorten the timeframe for the commission to respond to his complaint from two months to one week.
After over two months of silence, there was a blip of activity from President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission this week when a commissioner sent an email requesting information on voter fraud prosecutions by the Department of Justice and suggested the agency was not pursuing those types of cases vigorously enough. J. Christian Adams, a commissioner and former DOJ official, sent an email to Andrew Kossack, a federal official charged with the panel’s administration, and copied all of the other commissioners Monday. He asked that Kossack request an annual public report from DOJ on election crimes as well as voter fraud cases the department has pursued over the last decade.
How bogus is President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission? One of the group’s own members, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, has filed a lawsuit to get more information about what the panel is doing since no one is telling him, or other Democratic members. It is one of many lawsuits filed against the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. In his lawsuit, Dunlap contends that the commission is violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which seeks to prevent groups like the election advisory commission from being used to advance partisan objectives under the guises of a balanced review. The act says that the membership of advisory committees must be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented.” In addition, commission materials must be available to all members. Dunlap’s suit alleges that only some commission members are preparing materials and then those materials are not shared with the entire commission, which includes seven Republicans and four Democrats. Materials, which Dunlap and other commission members have not previously seen, have been presented at commission meetings, where it is clear that other members have participated in writing them.
The recent death of one member, the child pornography arrest of a key staffer and a blizzard of lawsuits have paralyzed the work of the federal Election Integrity Commission, according to Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who serves on the controversial panel. “There is so much inertia because the powers that be worry about whether there will be a lawsuit in response to whatever we do,” Gardner said during a telephone interview. “They have really tied this commission up pretty well with all the different lawsuits in all kinds of different directions.” But Gardner, a Democrat, said he’s got no evidence to confirm fellow member and Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s claims that some on the commission have been communicating only among themselves.
Editorials: Dunlap can sue, but election commission was always a sham | Cynthia Dill/Portland Press Herald
The federal lawsuit brought by Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap demanding prompt communication from and meaningful participation on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity – which is studying nothing, in order to give advice to President Trump, who will ignore it – expends a lot of taxpayer money and judicial resources, but at least it’s deductible. “Voter fraud” is not a real thing, but like a Pet Rock it has become a commercial success. The political issue harkens back to Jim Crow-era literacy tests and poll taxes, but the latest voter-suppression push is relatively recent. Republicans work to disenfranchise an important chunk of the Democratic voting base – minorities and young and low-income people – by making it harder for them to vote. They do this by passing laws that restrict voting registration times and polling places and require government-sponsored identification, among other means.
Ada County elections employees have been leery of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program since 2014 — the year they got burned by it. It was Idaho’s first year as a member. Ada County received a list of possible duplicate voter registrations and began to revoke several thousand of them, including then-West Ada School District Superintendent Linda Clark, radio personality Ken Bass and former U.S. Attorney and prominent Democrat Betty Richardson. Those voters began to call. What appeared to be duplicate records, weren’t at all. When the county realized it was in error, it quickly halted the revocations. Because of the Crosscheck program’s decentralized approach and a lack of feedback, it’s hard to tell its value to Idaho. But a look at what is known suggests it causes more problems than it catches — and it’s not clear that it’s helped catch any Idaho voter fraud that led to a conviction. … This year, 28 states — including Idaho — sent 98.5 million voter registration records to Kobach and Crosscheck. Those included such personal data as birth dates and partial Social Security numbers.
National: Trump fraud commission sued by one of its own members, alleging Democrats are being kept in the dark | The Washington Post
President Trump’s voter fraud commission was sued Thursday morning by one of its Democratic members, who alleged that he has been kept in the dark about its operations, rendering his participation “essentially meaningless.” Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said in a complaint filed in federal court that the 11-member panel is in violation of a federal law that requires presidential advisory commissions to be both balanced and transparent in their work. “The Commission has, in effect, not been balanced because Secretary Dunlap and the other Democratic commissioners have been excluded from the Commission’s work,” says the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “The Commission’s operations have not been open and transparent, not even to the commissioners themselves, who have been deprived access to documents prepared by and viewed by other commissioners.”
Much ado was made earlier this year when the Trump administration asked all 50 states for their voter-registration rolls. Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney told Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, that the commission could have only the voter registration information available under Idaho law — name, address, party affiliation and election-participation history. Denney assured the public that other personal information collected on Idaho’s voter registration forms — a voter’s date of birth, driver’s-license number and the last four digits of the Social Security number — is not releasable under Idaho’s public records law. Kobach, he said, could not have it. In fact, Denney had already given it to Kobach. In February, Denney gave Kobach information on all registered Idaho voters, including two pieces of voters’ non-public personal information — their birth dates and abbreviated Social Security numbers. And that was not the first time. Kobach received the same information about Idaho voters in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Why did this happen?
Maine: Secretary of State, a member of Trump fraud commission, sues panel for information about its work | Portland Press Herald
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.”