Judge blasts voting panel after it failed to disclose public files
WASHINGTON — Federal District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly tore into President Donald Trump’s voter commission for reneging on a promise to fully disclose public documents before a July 19 meeting, ordering the government to meet new transparency requirements and eliciting an apology from administration lawyers.
Kollar-Kotelly said the Election Integrity Commission released only an agenda and proposed bylaws before its first meeting last month at the White House complex.
But once gathered, commissioners sat with binders that included documents the public had not seen, including a 381-page “database” purporting to show 1,100 cases of voter fraud, from the Heritage Foundation, and also a list of possible topics to address from the panel vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Kollar-Kotelly said the panel’s argument was “incredible” when it said it did not believe documents prepared by commissioners for the July meeting had to have been posted in advance.
The commission has roiled states with a sweeping request for the voting information of more than 150 million registered voters. Trump created the commission in May after repeatedly suggesting millions of illegal voters cost him the popular vote against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Kollar-Kotelly directed the commission to detail what documents it believes are subject to disclosure ahead of its next meeting, scheduled Sept. 12 in New Hampshire.
The hearing came in a lawsuit filed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law that is challenging the commission’s compliance with federal open government laws.