Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) reacted today to newly unsealed documents related to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Among the documents is a memo by Kobach, the Commission’s Vice Chairman, which advocates for weakening vital voter protections under the National Voter Registration Act, including allowing states to seek new “proof of citizenship requirements” for voters.
“It’s deeply troubling that the Vice Chair of the President’s ‘election integrity’ commission is out to dismantle important protections for American voters. But’s it’s no surprise. We’ve known Mr. Kobach’s mission all along. Equally troubling is the mounting evidence of the Justice Department’s complicity in that mission. The American people deserve answers on this creepy commission, both from the White House and the Justice Department,” Whitehouse said.
Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has asked repeatedly for information on the Commission and its work, including potential evidence of coordination between the Department of Justice and the Commission. Last month, Whitehouse requested a response to the five previous congressional oversight requests related to the Commission. Among other questions, lawmakers have asked whether the Commission had the legal authority to request sensitive voter information from states—a move that has drawn bipartisan outcry.
Last week, Whitehouse wrote to President Trump’s choice to run the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Eric Dreiband, regarding his possible contacts with members of the Commission and others who have pushed false claims of widespread voter fraud in American elections. Dreiband has refused to confirm or deny those contacts.