Democrat on defunct voting commission says Kobach lied about why it dissolved

Kira Lerner Political Reporter, Think Progress

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap (D) had strong words for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) on Thursday after Kobach tried to lay blame for the failure of President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission at the feet of Dunlap and three other Democratic commissioners.

“[It’s a] bunch of balderdash,” Dunlap told ThinkProgress in an interview.

Since Trump announced Wednesday that he was dissolving the commission he created to investigate his false claim that widespread voter fraud cost him the popular vote in 2016, he and his advisors have assigned blame to everyone other than themselves.

On Twitter, Trump said Democratic elections officials who refused to provide the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with voter data led to its demise. A White House advisor said it was unable to operate transparently. And Kobach, the commission’s vice-chair, claimed that Democrats on the panel jeopardized their opportunity to be involved in setting federal voting policy.

“Anyone on the left needs to realize that by throwing the food in the air, they just lost a seat at the table,” Kobach told Politico, likely referring to over a dozen lawsuits against the group by Democrats and voting advocates, including one by a Democratic commissioner against his own commission.

Dunlap, the commissioner who sued the group in November, said Thursday that Kobach’s attempt to lay blame on him is nonsense.

“He said we were stonewalling,” Dunlap said. “I was asking for very basic information. I wasn’t asking for all the inner workings of the commission. I wanted to know what our reference documents were, what are our communications like, who are we talking to, what are we saying to each other, what’s our schedule? And I couldn’t get that information at all, under any circumstances, and that’s why we pursued the lawsuit.”

On December 22, a federal judge ruled in Dunlap’s favor, ordering Kobach to give the Democrat more access to the panel’s records. Dunlap says he is still awaiting the documents.

“The Federal Advisory Committee Act is quite clear that this is supposed to be a transparent, open process that welcomes perspectives from across the political spectrum, and we weren’t doing any of that,” Dunlap said. “When I filed the suit, [Kobach] said the suit was baseless. Well, the federal judge disagreed.”

After the December order, Dunlap said he suspected that Kobach would choose to terminate the commission rather than involve the four Democrats.

Since disbanding the commission he created in May 2017 to substantiate his false claim that 3 to 5 million people illegally voted in November 2016, Trump has continued to perpetuate the myth of voter fraud. On Twitter, he wrote that only a voter ID law would protect American elections, when research shows that they actually suppress minority voters who are more likely to vote for Democrats.

Dunlap said his comments underscore why the commission’s investigation was so important — to prove that a federal voter ID is unnecessary.

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Reposted from Think Progress

Kira Lerner is a Political Reporter for ThinkProgress. She previously worked as a reporter covering litigation and policy for the legal newswire Law360. She has also worked as an investigative journalist with the Chicago Innocence Project where she helped develop evidence that led to the exoneration of a wrongfully convicted man from Illinois prison. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Kira earned her bachelor's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work