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ACLU Sues Trump, Pence Over White House Voter Fraud Commission

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Lawsuit Says Commission Has Violated Federal Law

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and their election fraud commission in U.S. District Court. In its Monday filing, the ACLU is alleging the commission had violated federal public access requirements by holding its first meeting in private, without public notice.

The civil rights group, technically the American Civil Liberties Union, and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, is arguing that the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act, (FACA) (Pub.L. 92–463, 86 Stat. 770,) a 1972 federal statue, which governs the behavior of all federal advisory committees including presidential commissions. In particular, it has special emphasis on open meetings, chartering, public involvement, and reporting. which requires all advisory committee meetings to be open to the public and timely noticed in the Federal Register.  

According to the ACLU’s suit, the commission chairman, Vice President Pence, had conducted its first meeting via a 90-minute telephone conference with members on June 28. The ACLU is also alleging that the second meeting of the commission is now scheduled to take place in a building generally inaccessible to the public, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building within the White House complex, and none of the documents already relied upon by the Commission have been made available to the public. Both actions are in violation of FACA’s explicit rules governing these official bodies according to the ACLU. 

The ACLU also notes that the Vice Chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, had told members the commission was sending a letter to the 50 states and the District of Columbia requesting information on registered voters, including full names and addresses, political party registration and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.

According to press reports, as many as 44 states and the District of Columbia have so far refused to turn over the requested information, in some cases responding to the request in an angry fashion.

In an interview last week with The Hill, Susan Dudley, a former administrator with the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) under President George W. Bush, said that Trump’s voter fraud commission may have violated the law by ignoring federal requirements governing requests for information from states. Dudley noted that the commission’s failure to submit its request to states on their voter registration rolls through OIRA violates a 1980 law known as the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). Other experts agreed with Dudley’s assessment and noted that failure could be significant, since states could argue it means they are under no obligation to respond.

“If the commission gets heavy-handed with them, it seems to me that the states are within their right to say, ‘No, we don’t have to respond because you didn’t go through [OIRA],’” Dudley told The Hill.

The suit also notes that under FACA guidelines, the commission must be balanced, which the ACLU notes is not the case, as its membership is primarily comprised of persons who have previously endorsed President Trump’s public and unproven claims of voter fraud coupled with the fact that no provisions have been instituted to insulate the commission’s advice and recommendations from the president’s influence.

In addition to the ACLU suit, the Washington Post has reported the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center has also filed a lawsuit to block the commission from collecting state voter records from across the country.

The group claims the government should have assessed privacy concerns before making the request, should be using a secured website to receive the information and should not make public partial Social Security numbers.

Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Experts Sound Alarm as ‘Urgent and Heated’ Threats of Civil War Ramp Up Before Midterm Election

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According to a report from the New York Times, analysts and experts who follow online trends with regard to threats of political violence are warning the U.S. is moving into dangerous territory as the 2022 midterm election day grows closer.

As the Times’ Ken Bensinger and Sheera Frenkel wrote, there have been upticks in calls for a civil war since the FBI initiated a search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort seeking stolen government documents and then again when President Joe Biden called the former president and “MAGA Republicans” a threat to “the very foundations of our republic.”

Following the Mar-a-Lago search, “civil war’ talk on conservative social media platforms more than doubled and now “experts are bracing for renewed discussions of civil war, as the Nov. 8 midterm elections approach and political talk grows more urgent and heated.”

“Polling, social media studies and a rise in threats suggest that a growing number of Americans are anticipating, or even welcoming, the possibility of sustained political violence, researchers studying extremism say. What was once the subject of serious discussion only on the political periphery has migrated closer to the mainstream,” the report states before adding, “Social media platforms are rife with groups and boards dedicated to discussions of civil war. One, on Gab, describes itself as a place for ‘action reports,’ ‘combat vids’ and reports of killed in action in ‘the civil war that is also looking to be a 2nd American Revolution.'”

IN OTHER NEWS: ‘This isn’t going to work out’: Legal expert throws cold water on Trump’s latest effort to stall Mar-a-Lago probe

According to Robert Pape, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, “What you’re seeing is a narrative that was limited to the fringe going into the mainstream.”

Kurt Braddock, an American University professor who studies the recruitment techniques of fringe groups claimed the former president is not helping matters.

“Ideas go into echo chambers and it’s the only voice that’s heard; there are no voices of dissent,” he explained before warning, “The statements Trump makes are not overt calls to action, but when you have a huge and devoted following, the chances that one or more people are activated by that are high.”

You can read more here.

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News

‘Oddest’: Legal Experts Mock Trump’s ‘Nutty’ and ‘Doomed to Fail’ Emergency Supreme Court Motion

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It weighs in at 240 pages but legal experts are still mocking Donald Trump’s emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an 11th Circuit Court ruling and allow the special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents retrieved from him Mar-a-Lago home.

“Oddest SCOTUS petition. Very technical and not terribly logical,” observed Andrew Weissmann, an NYU School of Law law professor and former DOJ official who served as the General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as special counsel to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The motion was addressed to Justice Clarence Thomas,  who oversees the 11th Circuit courts. His wife, Ginni Thomas, is an avowed supporter of Trump and his “Big Lie” claims he won the 2020 election.

READ MORE: Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case

“SCOTUS should send him packing,” tweets former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. “No surprise here, this was why he paid former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise $3 million to sign on, no one else on his team could handle this.”

“Just watch SCOTUS turn Trump down 9-0. (Or 8-1 if Thomas dissents . . . ),” writes retired Harvard professor of law Laurence Tribe. “Will The Donald start calling ‘his’ three justices traitors? Will he say they have a ‘death wish’ as he did with McConnell?”

Weissmann took another hit at Trump’s Lawsuit, declaring it “nutty.”

“Trump argument to SCOTUS: 11th circuit had power to stay Cannon decision BUT it [could] not take the classified docs away from SM Dearie review. Nutty and if he won Dearie wd just say he won’t review the docs bc they are not Trump’s.”

University of Texas School of Law professor of law Steve Vladeck says that while the lawsuit is “not *entirely* laughable,” but he thinks “it’s both (1) doomed to fail; and (2) unlikely to accomplish much even if it succeeds.”

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says, “I would not be surprised if the Supreme Court decides not to hear it.”

 

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS

Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case

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Donald Trump on Tuesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his classified documents case, and reverse a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the U.S. Dept. of Justice access to the more than 100 classified and top secret documents federal agents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago residence and resort.

Trump is asking the nation’s highest court to order a special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents, despite the special master emphatically stating the government, not Trump, gets to decide what is classified and what is not, especially when Trump refused to provide a list of what he considered declassified.

The lawsuit, which is a massive 240 pages, mostly made up of other documents including the now infamous FBI photo of the classified documents on the Mar-a-Lago rug, is addressed to “The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit,” and refers to the former president as “President Trump.”

The lawsuit also mentions the contents that federal agents took, including “89 empty envelopes,” while not noting they were classified document envelopes.

“As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized documents, something [Judge] Cannon had previously barred,” The Washington Post notes. “Trump’s filing seeks only to reverse the appeals court’s ruling on the special master’s access to the documents, not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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