WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit today over the “lack of transparency by President Trump’s election commission.”
ACLU / RELEASE: The lawsuit charges the commission with failing to comply with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which is designed to ensure public accountability of all advisory committees.
“The commission held its first meeting without notice or making it open to the public. This process is cloaked in secrecy, raising serious concerns about its credibility and intent. What are they trying to hide?” said Theresa Lee, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.
Federal law requires that commission meetings be open to the public, with timely notice provided, allowing for in-person attendance, and that written records be made available to the public. The commission must also adopt measures to ensure that its work is not inappropriately influenced by special interests or the president himself.
President Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes, yet he promotes the lie that voter fraud is to blame. Trump in turn created the commission via executive order. It is led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, whom the ACLU has successfully sued numerous times over his voter suppression policies. Kobach has been roundly criticized for attempting to solicit detailed information on every registered voter in the United States. He has not divulged how the commission would use — or protect — that sensitive information, which includes names, addresses, birth dates, political affiliation, and voting history.
The commission will hold a July 19 meeting — only available via internet livestream — and has, by its own admission, held a previous telephonic meeting without notifying the public, as required by law.
“Our election process must be secure, fair, and transparent,” said Sophia Lin Lakin, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “Yet the commission is conducting its work deep in the shadows, making it alarmingly suspect. The commission is legally required to conduct the people’s business in the light of day.”
The case, American Civil Liberties Union v. Donald Trump, was brought by ACLU National and the ACLU of the District of Columbia. It was filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C.