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Trump's Voter Fraud Investigation May Have Been Conducted In An Illegal Manner

After the results of the 2016 presidential election, President Trump announced the formation of a voter fraud commission, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, tasked with investigating his dubious claims that “millions” of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton. After requesting voting information from individual states, the voter fraud commission immediately encountered stiff opposition, with US states refusing to supply the agency with voter data. Prominent Democrats and Republican have opposed the creation of the commission, with some Democrats implying that the commission was only created to mollify President Trump’s bruised ego after losing the popular vote.

Now, an entirely new round of controversy looks set to engulf President Trump’s election claims. According to a report from ‘The Hill’, the newly created commission has already violated a range of federal requirements. Specifically, when it requested voter data from the states, the commission failed to go through the proper channel, the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Consequently, legal experts have declared that the commission’s request violated the 1980 Paperwork Reduction Act.

A former OIRA official, Susan Dudley, discussed the implications of the commission’s legal violation, telling ‘The Hill’: “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].'”

However, the White House has already released a response to this argument, with Vice President Pence’s spokesman, Marc Lotter, defending the integrity and authority of the voter fraud commission, writing: “The Paperwork Reduction Act only applies to information collections by agencies. The Commission is an entity that ‘serve[s] solely to advise and assist the President,’ and is not, therefore, an agency subject to PRA.”

Legal experts remain divided on whether the commission can be excluded from the Paperwork Reduction Act, with a veteran OIRA economist, Richard Belzer, labelling the White House defense as “legally dubious.”

Regardless of political leaning, the states are furious at the commission’s request for personal data (which includes “full names and addresses, political party registration and the last four digits of Social Security numbers”).

Delbert Hosemann, the Republican Secretary of State for Mississippi, was particularly aggrieved by the demand and made no attempt to hide his indignation, saying: “My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great State to launch from. Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our State’s right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes.”

Since the legal violation was discovered, there have been growing calls for the states to take the commission’s request to the Justice Department. Now, two non-partisan organizations, United to Protect Democracy and the Brennan Center for Justice, have contacted the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mike Mulvaney, asking him to censure the voter fraud commission.

A contributor to ‘The Hill’ and professor at Rutgers University, Stuart Shapiro, has also condemned the voter fraud commission for blithely ignoring American law, saying: “I think it shows a carelessness in their desire to come in and shake things up and do what they want and to do so with a disregard for the rules.”

Source: The Hill
Photo: The Hill Screenshot

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