ACLU Files Suit: Trump Election Fraud Panel Is Ignoring Open Meeting Laws

Carolyn Kaster/AP

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C. over a lack of transparency by President Donald Trump’s bogus election fraud commission.

The lawsuit alleges the panel has failed to follow the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires advisory committees to post notice of meetings, make their discussions open to the public and that written records of the meetings be shared publicly. Commissions also must provide evidence that they aren’t being influenced by special interest groups or the President. ACLU attorneys said the lack of transparency raises “serious concerns” about what the commission is trying to accomplish.

This process is cloaked in secrecy, raising serious concerns about its credibility and intent. What are they trying to hide?” ACLU staff attorney Theresa Lee said in a statement.

The election fraud panel — created through a Trump executive order — requested all 50 states hand over sensitive voter data, like addresses, military status and the last four digits of voters’ social security numbers. Nearly every state has responded saying it will either not provide any of the information or only give the commission publicly available data.

The ACLU lawsuit claims the commission has operated with secrecy by not only failing to explain how it plans to use the data it requested from states, but also how it would protect the information.

“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.”

 Read the ACLU’s complaint below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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