Trump created the ‘Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’ by Executive Order, appointing “The Dark Prince of voter fraud alarmism,” Hans von Spakovsky, and Kris Kobach, a guy with “a lengthy record of illegally disenfranchising eligible voters in Kansas.” What they want you to believe is the goal: To eliminate widespread voter fraud. Translation: Trump’s ego was bruised when Hillary won the popular vote by millions. Trump claimed it was due to imagined millions of illegal votes, so here’s his big chance to find any evidence for that whatsoever. (Though there has never been any) His dubious Commission is already going over like his Muslim Ban, Trumpcare, or the whole wall thing. –The Hill reports that they may have already violated the law by ignoring federal requirements.
The Commission sent out letters to the 50 states and D.C. to request sensitive voter data including partial social security numbers. They missed the step of going through the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and that violates the law called the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). That may sound innocuous, but it gives states more reason not to comply with the request. Most states have refused to comply.
The PRA is “a 1980 law that requires federal agencies to seek public input, including through a comment period, before making a request for information.
The law requires that agencies justify their requests for public information, specify how it will be used and provide assurances that data will be protected. The law also obliges the agencies to estimate how many hours it will take entities to respond.
Chairman Pence tried to argue that the Commission isn’t technically an agency:
“The Commission is an entity that ‘serve[s] solely to advise and assist the President,’ and is not, therefore, an agency subject to PRA.”
Experts disagree with Pence on that:
“I think it shows a carelessness in their desire to come in and shake things up and do what they want and to do so with a disregard for the rules,” said Stuart Shapiro, professor and the director of the Program in Public Policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.”
Shapiro calls the PRA “an important safeguard against government overreach”:
“[…] in cases where the government is imposing a significant burden on the public, or collecting sensitive data, the PRA is an important safeguard against government overreach,”stated Shapiro.
Major news outlets reported that 45 states already refused to comply with the Commission request, a very strong indication that the request amounted to overreach. But Kris Kobach has called this “fake news,” asserting that 20 states have agreed to the request.
As American News X writer Jen Froderman reported, even the predominately conservative state of Arkansas has refused to comply in order to protect voter information.
[…]While we remain committed to ensuring the integrity of and confidence in our electoral process, providing all of the information requested is not in the best interest of Arkansas voters, stated Governor Asa Hutchinson.
The requests from Trump’s Commission for voter data seem especially strange when you consider that the man in charge of hiring for the Trump White House, Johnny DeStefano, was in charge of a data analytics firm responsible for the largest leak of voter information in world history. 198m American voters, which is roughly half of all Americans, had their personal information left unsecured on the internet for anyone to easily grab, Russian or otherwise.
Throw in the fact that Russia hacked at least 39 state’s voter roll information. There is already more voter information circulating in suspect hands than anyone can possibly keep track of. Now Trump has appointed a Commission in order to make the request for yet more data under the guise of “Election Integrity” to pursue evidence that he won the popular vote instead of Clinton.
Yet if Trump wants to legitimize his presidency, he can simply release all of his taxes. He can get out of the way of the investigations by Mueller until they conclude – without obstruction. And he and the Trump White House can comply with the law, with federal regulations, and with the checks and balances put in place by our Founding Fathers to assure legitimate governance. So far, 45 hasn’t been able to comply with those simple things, and 45 states aren’t going for the ride when it comes to his “Election Integrity” Commission. If justice prevails, the Commission will have to comply with regulations and follow the letter of the law to obtain further information on American voters.
Featured image: Lady Justice, via Pixabay, Public Domain