One of the members of the commission formed by President Trump to investigate supposed voter fraud, heavily criticized the controversial panel on Friday, saying the panel was created to support Donald Trump’s lies.
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap accused Vice Chair Kris Kobach, along with Donald Trump and administration officials, of making false statements about voter fraud. Dunlap said he had reached the conclusion that the voter fraud panel had been established in attempts to find validation for the president’s baseless claims that there were millions of fraudulent votes in the 2016 election.
According to Dunlap the intent of the Trump administration was”to promote a pre-ordained objective: ratifying the President’s statements that millions of illegal votes were cast during the 2016 elections.”
Dunlap, one of just four Democrats on the 11-member panel, made his remarks in a written report he submitted to the commission’s leaders — Vice President Pence and Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas. He said he had personally reviewed over 8,000 documents which the panel had gathered as part of its work, but which he was able to obtain only after winning a legal battle.
Before it was disbanded by Trump in January, the voter fraud panel had never presented any findings or evidence of widespread voter fraud. But the White House claimed at the time that it had shut down the commission despite “substantial evidence of voter fraud,” due to the mounting legal challenges it faced from states.
Kobach, too, was quoted in the media at that time saying “some people on the left were getting uncomfortable about how much we were finding out.”
But Dunlap said that the commission’s documents clearly expose that Trump and Kobach were lying, writing in a letter to the White House:
“After months of litigation that should not have been necessary, I can report that the statements of Vice Chair Kobach and the White House were, in fact, false. I have reviewed the Commission documents made available to me and they do not contain evidence of widespread voter fraud.”
He also said that the documents showed that the commission was “predicting it would find evidence of fraud, evincing a troubling bias.”
One especially troubling item disclosed by Dunlap was an outline for a report the commission distributed in November of 2017. The outline had headings for “Improper voter registration practices,” and “Instances of fraudulent or improper voting,” even though there was no evidence of these things. Dunlap said this showed that the committee had preordained conclusions.
“After reading this,” Dunlap said, “I see that it wasn’t just a matter of investigating President Trump’s claims that three to five million people voted illegally, but the goal of the commission seems to have been to validate those claims.”
After a career of more than 20 years of public service, Dunlap said that his experience of serving on Trump’s voter fraud panel was “the most bizarre thing I’ve ever been a part of.”
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.