Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap on Friday accused the White House and leaders of a presidential commission of making false statements about potential voter fraud and of “troubling bias” as they led the now-disbanded election commission.
In a scathing letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Dunlap said he found no evidence of voter fraud in the thousands of pages of records that a court ordered released to him as a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Instead, Dunlap asserts that White House claims of “substantial evidence of voter fraud” were merely intended to bolster a “pre-ordained objective: ratifying the President’s statements that millions of illegal votes were cast during the 2016 elections.”
“Now, however, after months of litigation that should not have been necessary, I can report that the statements of Vice Chair Kobach and the White House were, in fact, false,” Dunlap wrote in his letter. “I have reviewed the Commission documents made available to me and they do not contain evidence of widespread voter fraud. Indeed, while staff prepared drafts of a report to be issued to the commission, the sections on evidence of voter fraud are glaringly empty. That the commission predicted it would find widespread evidence of fraud actually reveals a troubling bias.”
Although a member of President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, Dunlap said he was forced to sue the commission last year for documents that should have been released to members. The U.S. Department of Justice fought handing over the documents to Dunlap – a Democrat – on grounds that the commission had been dissolved by executive order by Trump. Late last month, a federal judge ordered the documents be handed over to Dunlap, who spent several weeks reviewing them with his legal team.
In a further swipe at the commission, Dunlap also announced Friday that he is releasing all of the documents to the public for the first time.
“There is no single document that reveals there is no widespread voter fraud,” Dunlap wrote to Pence and Kobach. “Instead, I rely on the lack of any evidence in the totality of what I have reviewed. Accordingly, after reviewing the material, I have concluded that my only recourse is to publish all of the documents made available to me, so Americans can conclude for themselves that evidence to support the statements of Vice Chair Kobach and the White House regarding the purported preliminary findings of the commission does not exist.”
Trump created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity soon after his inauguration in January 2017 to investigate claims of voter fraud. Trump repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that between 3 million and 5 million illegal ballots were cast and that was the difference between him losing the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The commission met just twice and then disbanded amid a growing controversy over its purpose, membership and agenda.
This story will be updated.
In this July 8, 2017, file photo, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap speaks during a voter registration meeting at the National Association of Secretaries of State conference in Indianapolis. (AP file photo)