Monday, July 10, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He saw his "Election Integrity Commission" get sued not once but twice, for a total of at least three pending lawsuits against it.

Trump created the commission to find evidence to support his completely unsubstantiated claims that three million or more people voted illegally, and that every single illegal vote was for Hillary Clinton. This would explain away Clinton's 2.9 million-vote lead in the popular vote, a subject that Trump is extremely sensitive about. (In theory, the commission's charge is simply to report on the American voting system. But in an indication of the extent to which its results are pre-determined, even Trump refers to it as the "voter fraud panel.") 

Today, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit accusing the commission of violating federal open meeting laws. The ACLU suit also holds that the commission, which is populated mostly by Trump loyalists and vote-suppression activists, violates a law requiring that advisory committees be politically balanced and not designed to reach a particular conclusion. In a separate suit, also filed today, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law made similar claims.

The commission was sued last week by the Electronic Privacy Information Center on the grounds that its recent request to states for massive amounts of voter information violated a federal privacy law. Today, the commission put that request on hold pending a ruling from the judge on the restraining order the EPIC lawsuit seeks.

Why is this a bad thing?

  • It's bad if a president uses taxpayer money to create a commission to "advise" him of what he wants to hear.
  • Presidential commissions shouldn't try to hide their agendas, especially when the law requires them to be transparent about it.