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

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