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.”
The lawsuit is the latest drama for a commission that has proven a magnet for controversy since its launch in the wake of Trump’s baseless assertion that he would have won the popular vote in last year’s election if he hadn’t been thwarted by as many as 5 million illegally cast ballots.
The 11-member panel, which is nominally chaired by Vice President Pence and is formally known as the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, has met publicly twice, in Washington in July and in New Hampshire in September. A third meeting has yet to be announced.
Pence and others have pledged that the commission has no preordained agenda as it looks at voting practices that could undermine or bolster confidence in elections.