Trump’s voter fraud panel starts work today

Four Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence Tuesday requesting Kris Kobach’s removal from the President’s commission on election integrity and for the panel to rescind last month’s controversial request last month for voter information.

“The clear majority of our state election administrators — including numerous Republican elected officials — oppose the vice chair’s request, which was made directly after a secret, unofficial meeting of the commission’s members,” the letter said. “These actions openly flout federal privacy and transparency laws.”

The signers specifically alleged that Kobach’s actions violate the Hatch Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, raising concerns about the vice chairman’s “position on the commission, his actions to date and several conflicts of interest.”

Kobach did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The letter was signed by top Democrats on four committees of oversight — Rep. Elijah Cummings; Rep. Bennie Thompson; Rep. John Conyers; and Rep. Robert Brady.

An outline of commission bylaws published Tuesday, however, allows the commission to host “closed meetings” in “limited circumstances and in accordance with applicable law.”

Hours later, more than 70 lawmakers signed a letter to Kobach urging him to withdraw his request for voter registration data due to security and privacy concerns.

The request comes the same day as the filing of yet another of several lawsuits against the commission, and just one day before the commission is scheduled to meet for the first time.

The top Democrats enumerated a long list of other concerns: They rejected the notion of widespread voter fraud, highlighted the security concerns of transmitting and compiling sensitive data in a single database, and said the commission’s methods would result in voter suppression by producing “thousands of false positives.”

To increase transparency, the signers demanded that commission documents be made public by August 1.