Trump administration handing over docs
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – The Trump administration is complying with a judge’s order to hand over documents from the disbanded voting integrity commission to Democratic Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, officials said Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Justice sent out the materials on Wednesday, the deadline set by a federal judge, according to a spokeswoman for Dunlap. Dunlap’s lawyers will review the documents before any of the materials are publicly released, she said.
Dunlap told The Associated Press that he’s not sure what materials he’ll be getting, or the format, “so we’re not getting terribly excited, just yet.”
A judge rejected the administration’s contention that Dunlap, a Democrat, is no longer entitled to documents because the panel was disbanded.
Republican President Donald Trump convened the commission to investigate the 2016 presidential election after making unsubstantiated claims that between 3 million and 5 million illegally cast ballots had cost him the popular vote, which Democrat Hillary Clinton won.
Critics, including Dunlap, disagree with Trump’s contention that there was widespread voter fraud.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that Dunlap should have access to the documents, before the panel was disbanded in January. She set a July 18 deadline for the documents to be produced.
Dunlap has argued for transparency, saying the people have a right to know about the panel’s work.
“In this decision, the judge locks the back windows and side doors, turns on the lights, and demands that this work happen not in the shadows, but in the open,” he said.
A message left with the commission’s vice chairman, Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was not immediately returned.
Dunlap contends the Federal Advisory Committee Act requires the voter commission to provide all members with equal information as the panel goes about its activities.
He said he was repeatedly rebuffed when he sought access to commission records including meeting materials, witness invitations and correspondence.