Lawsuit By Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Yields Index Of Electronic Communications Exposing Coordination By Most Partisan Members Of Commission
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity recently released records of its communications in response to litigation brought by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. These records, available online, underscore the partisan nature of the Commission led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Records indicate that Kobach communicated exclusively with partisan allies regarding the Commission’s work, to the exclusion of other Commissioners. The communications released late last week also make available to the public the most information yet regarding the Commission established by President Trump to support his unfounded claims of voter fraud in the 2016 election.
“The information released by the so-called Commission on Election Integrity as a result of our lawsuit paints an incomplete but alarming record about the Commission’s work and intentions. For example, it appears that known vote-suppressors Kris Kobach, J. Christian Adams, and Hans von Spakovsky, worked together without the input of other commissioners to develop the unprecedented June 28th letter to state election officials seeking vast amounts of personal voter data. Email communications with the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security also suggest the Commission appears directed at facilitating Secretary Kobach’s dangerous agenda of comparing personal voter information with inaccurate databases to bolster his unfounded claim of widespread voter fraud to support the enactment of suppressive laws,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Clarke added: “The American people deserve to know the full story behind this Commission. With the voting rights of millions of Americans at stake, we will continue the fight to ensure full transparency with respect to this so-called Commission’s activities. The release of these new materials further underscores the dangerous agenda of this Commission.”
Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), presidential commissions are obligated to operate in a transparent manner, yet the Kobach Commission has fallen short of that requirement. Court filings by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law previously revealed that Commissioners were communicating on private email accounts rather than using federal government-issued accounts in violation of the Presidential Records Act. Now, in providing a catalogue of communications to the D.C. District Court as part of the lawsuit brought by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, it appears that the Commission failed to provide any records of text messages or a complete record of staff communications regarding the Commission’s work.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has undertaken a series of comprehensive actions to challenge the Commission. This includes filing litigation that remains active in the D.C. District Court seeking for the Administration’s compliance with federal transparency requirements pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA); launching a hotline for the public to report instances of voter suppression (866-OUR-VOTE); issuing letters to Secretaries of State demanding they not comply with Mr. Kobach’s request for private voter data; and filing a Hatch Act complaint against Mr. Kobach regarding his repeated exploitation of his Commission role to solicit campaign contributions and promote his candidacy for Governor of Kansas.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 54th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.