Criticisms that President Trump’s voter fraud commission is not operating transparently are now coming from within the hen house.
A Democratic member of the commission sent a letter to its executive director seeking more information about the communications among commissioner members, with federal agencies, with commission staff on its work “and/or policy proposals that may be offered to policymakers as either a component of any report or under separate cover of which this Commissioner may be unaware.”
“There’s been a lot of frustration with the lack of information that people are able to get out of the commission,” Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap told TPM.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Dunlap said he had not received a response to his letter from Andrew Kossack, the commission’s executive director.
Dunlap, in the letter, cites the Federal Advisory Committee Act in requesting “copies of any and all correspondence between Commission members in the possession of the Commission.” He also recounts his frustration when he first heard about developments and details about the commission’s work through inquiries from the media.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, Dunlap told TPM, was when a reporter texted him about a Washington Post report Saturday that a researcher for the commission had been arrested on child porn charges.
“Four days have gone by. We’ve heard nothing from the leadership of the commission or staff about the situation,” Dunlap said. Dunlap said he may have met the researcher, Ronald Williams, at a commission meeting, but was otherwise unaware of his role and what sort of research he was doing.
But it’s not just that. Dunlap told TPM he was surprised when he was asked by reporters about communications between the commission’s vice chair Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Republican commissioners J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky about a controversial request for state voter roll information. The communications that happened before Adams and von Spakovsky were formally named to the commission, and they were only revealed as part of a lawsuit against the commission.
“You have a situation where you have the names J. Christian Adams, Hans von Spakovsky and Kris Kobach keep coming up as being the architects of the work of the commission. But what about the rest of us?” Dunlap told TPM. “There are other members of the commission and nobody is consulting with me about what I think the issues are that we should be looking at.”
Despite his concerns, Dunlap said he does not have any intentions of quitting commission.
“I think that would be a one day story [if I resigned],” Dunlap said. “I think I am a lot more effective at the front lines than I am in retreat.”
Read his letter to the executive director below: