The hard-line Kansas Secretary of State who led President Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission says its work will be taken over by the Department of Homeland Security, in what he calls a “tactical shift.”
“What’s happening is a tactical shift where the mission of the commission is being handed off to Homeland Security without the stonewalling by Democrats,” Kris Kobach, a champion of restrictive voting laws, told Breitbart News.
“I’ll be working closely with the White House and DHS to ensure the investigations continue,” Kobach said, adding that, “by throwing their food in the air,” Democrats “just lost their seat at the table.
“The investigations will continue now, but they won’t be able to stall it through litigation,” Kobach continued.
Trump, in his statement announcing that he was dissolving the commission, also hinted at the move.
“Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action,” he said.
The commission, which was formed after Trump claimed falsely that “millions” voted illegally in 2016, was already in contact with the DHS, according to communications logs that were released as part of a lawsuit facing the panel.
Kobach and some of its other members had floated the idea of using DHS data to determine whether non-citizens were on the voter rolls. Elections experts and civil rights advocates worried that doing so would create false positives that would disproportionately affect minorities and result in their disenfranchisement. It was not clear exactly what the level of cooperation has been between the DHS and the commission up to this point.
The commission had been hobbled by a number of lawsuits, alleging a lack of transparency and privacy violations relating to a request for states’ voter roll data. One lawsuit came from one of the commission’s own Democratic members, who said he was being improperly kept out of the loop.
“The Department continues to focus our efforts on securing elections against those who seek to undermine the election system or its integrity,” DHS acting press secretary Tyler Houlton said in an statement to the Washington Examiner Wednesday. We will do this in support of State governments who are responsible for administering elections.”