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January 23, 2018

Election Security Task Force Seeks Clarification On DHS Role in Continuing Kobach Voter Fraud Commission

(WASHINGTON) – Today, House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert A. Brady (D-PA), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, wrote to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kristjen Nielsen seeking clarification regarding the Department’s responsibilities related to the now-defunct Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.

The Commission was ostensibly established to investigate allegations of fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting. However, the members write this claim was substantiated by “nothing more than the President’s active imagination and frustration that he did not receive the majority of the popular votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.” The letter notes the Commission was the subject of frequent criticism and legal action “alleging violation of several federal laws, including the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Privacy Act, the Hatch Act, and multiple state laws, among other things.”

After the commission was unable to produce any evidence of improper voting and registrations, the President abruptly terminated the commission. However, he nevertheless directed DHS to “examine” the Commission’s initial findings and “determine the next courses of action.”

The members write:

“It is unclear how the Department will carry out this charge given that the Commission never produced any findings. We are concerned that directing DHS essentially to take over where the Commission left off could distract the Department from its pressing obligation to protect US election systems from foreign interference and may undermine the burgeoning relationships DHS is building with state election officials.”

The members request that DHS provide the following information related to their examination:

  • Any documents, files, electronic records, or information that the Department has received or anticipates receiving from the Commission, despite reports that all voter data will be destroyed and that the Commission never made any findings.
  • What activities the Department will undertake pursuant to the President’s decision to transfer the Commission’s responsibilities to DHS, including whether those additional activities will require the Department to divert resources from existing activities.
  • What steps the Department plans to take in order to avoid undermining the cooperative relationship between DHS and the states necessary to secure our nation’s elections.

A full copy of the letter can be found here.

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Media contacts:
Adam Comis (Thompson): 202-225-9978
Peter Whippy (Brady): 202-225-3072