Email: Heritage Foundation Didn’t Want Democrats On Bogus Elections Panel

Vice President Mike Pence, left, accompanied by Vice-Char Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, right, speaks during the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP

A staffer for the conservative Heritage Foundation came out in very strident terms against the appointment of any Democrats or “mainstream” Republicans to President Donald Trump’s bogus “voter fraud” panel, according to an email the Department of Justice released Tuesday.

The person’s identity was blacked out in an email the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) obtained from the Department of Justice through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, but the email’s signature included the Heritage Foundation’s Washington, D.C. address and listed its Institute for Constitutional Government.

In the February email, which a DOJ staffer forwarded to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the sender claimed to have received “a very disturbing phone call about the voter fraud commission” led by Vice President Mike Pence and vice chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R).

“We are told that the members of this commission are to be named on Tuesday,” the sender wrote. “We’re also hearing that they are going to make this bipartisan and include Democrats.”

The sender cited concerns that the commission was “being organized in a way that will guarantee its failure” and claimed “there isn’t a single Democratic official that will do anything other than obstruct any investigation” by the commission.

The sender also warned Sessions against “picking mainstream Republican officials and/or academics” for the panel.

“It will be an abject failure,” the sender wrote of the possibility, “because there aren’t any that know anything about this or who have paid any attention to this issue over the year.”

Reached for comment, a spokesman for the Heritage Foundation said he would get TPM “a name” for the email sender but did not respond to further requests for comment.

Heritage Foundation spokesperson Sarah Mills told Gizmodo reporter Dell Cameron in a statement that Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative and a a senior legal fellow in its Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, wrote and sent the email.

“He brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the discussion,” Mills said. “The views expressed in the emails are his own.”

Trump named Spakovsky to the commission in June.

This post has been updated.