The voter fraud commission fraud

Jennifer Rubin’s column at the Post is titled “right turn.”  Rubin basically believes in conservative policies, but she’s no knee-jerk partisan and it seems that the horrendous turn of the GOP under Trump just keeps driving her further away from the Republican Party.  This column on the fraudulent and dangerous voter fraud commission could have easily been written by one of the Post’s “liberal” columnists.  Anyway, it’s good stuff.  The commission, of course, is horrible stuff:

Yes, a partisan politician — did we mention he’s running for governor? — and lawyer who writes for an alt-right publication known for hyperbole, exaggeration and outrightfalsehoods is simultaneously leading a commission that has set out to find the impossible, namely nonexistent evidence of large-scale voting fraud. In an outrage-filled administration, this ranks near the top of the list…

Things went from bad to worse on Tuesday when a memo sent by email surfaced to Attorney General Jeff Sessions from Hans von Spakovsky, a controversial member of the panel, that objected to seating Democrats or mainstream Republicans on the commission. Von Spakovsky initially denied seeing the letter (let alone writing it) but was outed when his think tank, the Heritage Foundation, sought to distance itself from a blatantly partisan initiative…

The entire outfit is plainly unserious and unfit to conduct any credible study. Walter Shaub, senior director of ethics at the CLC and former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, tells me: “They’re not even working hard at the pretense of fairly balanced proceedings. It’s clear they’re trying to leverage governmental authority to lend credibility to implausible claims of widespread voter fraud, while downplaying the urgent issue of foreign interference in our elections.” …

We have an entity operating under the auspices of the federal government funded by taxpayer dollars for obvious partisan purposes.

Former Republican ethics counsel Richard Painter tells me, “There’s more than enough evidence of a Hatch Act violation,” referring to the law that prohibits government officials from politicking on the job or using government resources for partisan ends. He notes that while Cabinet officials may get dinged for appearing at a political event, this is “a hundred times worse.”

He argues that a commission dealing with something as serious as voting was flawed from the start. “It’s absolutely critical that these be bipartisan,” Painter says. “If not, they’ll be subject to abuse. And here when you dig down it’s clearly an abuse.” …

Former Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller says Congress needs to act. “This commission was conceived from a lie — that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in last year’s election — and everything it has done since has been in furtherance of that lie,” he says. “We now know that one of its leading members sees it as a partisan instrument aimed at helping the Republican Party, writing in plain language what has always been obvious. It’s time for Congress to step in and shut this commission down or they own its assault on democracy.”

In short, the commission is a farce. [emphasis mine]

Like much of the Trump administration, this really is Banana Republic stuff.  And oh-so-depressing that the vast majority of the GOP just blithely accepts it.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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