By Robert Knight
The Washington Times
(July 17, 2017) — If you don’t think the Left is terrified by the prospect of clean voter rolls, you might not have heard about the latest ploy by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The ACLU has sued President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, charging them with violating federal “transparency” laws.
The suit is a bald attempt to halt the panel’s mission, which is to examine the prevalence of vote fraud in America and to recommend ways to secure the election process.
Given the media-fed hysteria over Russia’s alleged tampering with last November’s election, you’d think progressives would welcome a thorough investigation. They claim loudly that vote fraud is just a myth, and that voter “suppression” is widespread, but they don’t want anyone actually investigating voter rolls and election records. Why not?
The ACLU especially hates the fact that the election integrity commission is co-chaired by Kris Kobach, the Republican secretary of state from Kansas who has led a cooperative effort among the states to share election data in order to clean up corrupt voter rolls.
The ACLU contends that the commission, which has Republicans and Democrats from several states, is unbalanced, and therefore violates the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which requires that federal panels be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed.” Yes, the commission tilts conservative, because Trump is in the White House. Perhaps if the president puts Al Sharpton in charge, the ACLU will go away.
Commission members held a get-acquainted telephone meeting on June 28, ahead of the first formal meeting to be livestreamed on July 19. The ACLU argues that this violates the FACA provision requiring public notice of upcoming meetings and to make those meetings open to the public.
Do you recall when Democrat lawmakers actually locked Republicans out of hearing rooms while concocting ObamaCare? And giving everyone a few hours to digest a 2,700-page bill that had to be passed “so that you can find out what is in it,” as Nancy Pelosi put so famously?
Not a peep out of the ACLU then. Heck, a gaggle of ACLU lawyers was probably behind the closed doors, cheering on the reclusive Dems. Apples and oranges you might say, since FACA applies only to non-federal panelists. My point is that the ACLU, once again, is displaying its finely-tuned selective outrage.
The complaint in ACLU v. Trump, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, demands that the commission provide “all the records, reports, transcripts, minutes, appendixes, working papers, drafts, studies, agenda, [and]other documents which were made available to or prepared by” the commission from the telephone meeting. That should gum up the works.
It’s the bureaucratic equivalent of what congressional progressives are doing to the president’s nominees; stalling them to death with absurd document requests and ducking out of meetings to deny a quorum. The Deep State and its Capitol Hill colleagues are making good on their promise to “resist” the president and the congressional majority in any way necessary to stop any semblance of reforms.
The ACLU suit attacks several commissioners by name, including Vice Chairman Kris Kobach, Hans von Spakovsky, Ken Blackwell and Christy McCormick. These are men and a woman of substance that the ACLU has figuratively accused of consulting a Magic 8 Ball for facts, disparaging “noncitizens” and throwing their bodies across polling places to prevent minorities from voting. The ACLU cites liberal court rulings and – what else? – articles in far-left news media, including The Nation. For the record, I know all of the aforementioned panelists, and they are people of high integrity.
Finally, the ACLU is shocked, shocked to learn earlier this month from a spokesperson for Vice President Pence that “the Commission had already formulated plans for the voter data that it is collecting, explaining that the Commission intended to check the information contained in state voter rolls against data housed in various federal databases to identify supposedly ineligible registrants.”
Oh, the horror! You mean use the common-sense approaches already codified in the National Voter Registration Act, best known as the Motor Voter Law?
This has all the punch of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine’s bizarre assertion that “treason” may be afoot because Donald Trump, Jr. met with a Russian lawyer before the election who had promised to provide opposition research on Hillary. The lawyer was welcomed into the country by the Obama Administration, and reportedly wound up lobbying Trump Junior on policies affecting international child adoptions. To sum up the progressive mindset: Talking to a foreign lobbyist is “treason,” and comparing voter roll databases is part of a nefarious plot to overthrow U.S. elections.
“These are the same people who are demanding an investigation of Russia’s attempts to meddle in U.S. elections,” Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio Secretary of State who is an American Civil Rights Union Policy Board member like Mr. von Spakovsky, told Breitbart.com.
“But part of this commission’s mandate is to explore threats to U.S. elections from any foreign actor—including Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, or anyone else—yet these same groups are trying to derail the commission’s work.”
Of course they are. The last thing the Left wants is tamper-proof elections.
Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union.