Oops! White House admits it has zero evidence of voter fraud in 2016 election

Melanie Schmitz

Melanie Schmitz Associate Editor, Think Progress

In a court filing on Tuesday, the White House announced that it had not uncovered any preliminary findings of voter fraud in the 2016 election and that it would be destroying confidential voter data initially collected for President Trump’s controversial voter fraud commission, which was disbanded on January 3.

The revelation stands in stark contrast to previous comments made by both Trump and former commission vice chair and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who claimed in an interview with right-wing outlet Breitbart one week ago that all investigation work would be “handed off” to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), implying that Democrats were becoming “uncomfortable” with how much Republicans had discovered thus far.

Trump also claimed previously that the commission — created in May 2017 and charged with identifying “vulnerabilities in voting systems” that could lead to fraud — had uncovered “substantial” findings which would be handed over to DHS.

Tuesday’s court filing contradicted those claims.

“The Commission did not create any preliminary findings,” White House Director of Information Technology Charles C. Herndon said. “In any event, no Commission records or data will be transferred to the DHS or another agency, except to NARA [the National Archives and Records Administration] if required, in accordance with federal law.”

He added that “no Commission member was provided access to the state voter data prior to the Commission’s termination and none has access now.”

The commission came under fire last year after requesting that states turn over their voter rolls and confidential voter data in order to parse them for evidence of potential fraud. That demand was met with immediate bipartisan backlash: officials from 44 states either officially rejected the request or refused to comply fully, citing concerns over privacy laws.

Up until Tuesday, Kobach — who is currently running for governor in his home state — had given the impression that the voter fraud investigation was ongoing and that the disbanded commission had uncovered a swath of evidence that was being hampered by “leftist” groups, according to Breitbart. On January 3, Kobach told the outlet that, moving forward, he would be “working closely with the White House and DHS to ensure the investigations continue.”

“What’s happening is a tactical shift where the mission of the commission is being handed off to Homeland Security without the stonewalling by Democrats,” he said. “…They have absolutely no interest in stopping voter fraud. It’s truly extraordinary that one party in our system has made clear that they don’t care.”

He added that “some people on the left were getting uncomfortable about how much we were finding out.”

Kobach was caught in another lie earlier this week, when the DHS announced that he would not be advising department officials investigating the commission’s findings as he had claimed.

“Mr. Kobach is not advising DHS in a formal or informal manner,” a DHS spokesperson told the Kansas City Star. “Of course, if an issue were to arise, we would work with him in his official capacity as the Kansas secretary of state as we do with any secretary of state and other state and local officials.”

In response, Kobach insisted that the White House had promised he would be involved in the process moving forward.

“I can tell you this, I was informed by the White House when the president made his final decision that they wanted me to be working closely with the president and this team. …And that team is both the White House and DHS,” he said. “What hasn’t been fleshed out is that capacity. I will not take on a formal adviser role.”

Tuesday’s announcement follows a court filing from Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap — a Democrat and one of the commission’s own members — for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to “preserve his access to information and documents” related to the commission. Dunlap — who told Politico he found out about the panel’s dissolution on January 3 via a news release — previously sued the commission for allegedly barring him and others from viewing its records, claiming that its Republican members had been largely unresponsive to his requests.

“My access to this information is more critical than ever, now that the commission is dissolved,” Dunlap said in a statement. “Dissolution of the commission does not change the law on the availability of a presidential commission’s records, either for a former member or for the public.”

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Reposted from Think Progress

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.

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A Friendly Reminder

A Friendly Reminder