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.

***

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

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

More ...

A Friendly Reminder

A Friendly Reminder