Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap was notified Wednesday that he will receive, within 24 hours, documents related to a presidential commission on voting integrity he served on last year.

Dunlap, one of 11 members appointed by the Trump administration, sued the commission last year after he was excluded from information, including state voting data.

A federal judge twice ordered the administration to turn over documents, most recently late last month.

Kristen Schulze Muszynski, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office, said Dunlap was notified by email from the U.S. Department of Justice that it was complying with the judge’s order. The materials were sent Wednesday, which was the deadline set by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

Muszynski said they were not told what materials will be sent.

“The attorneys will be reviewing the material and Secretary Dunlap plans to publicly release what we can when that process is complete, making sure not to share any personally identifying information or proprietary information contained therein,” she said in a statement. “We will have a web-based platform on which we plan to make the materials available to the public and will issue a press release when we are ready to do so.”


Trump created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in early 2017, not long after he was elected, to investigate claims of voter fraud. He 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.

Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican and longtime advocate of stricter voting laws, led the commission and both made clear that the commission would focus almost entirely on voter fraud, a problem that numerous studies and probes by administrations of both parties have shown is extremely rare.

The commission met just twice and then disbanded amid growing problems. In addition to Dunlap’s lawsuit seeking access to information, one member, former Arkansas state lawmaker David Dunn, died last fall, and a staff member to the commission was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography.

After the commission was dissolved, the Justice Department argued that Dunlap no longer was entitled to any documents.

Judge Kollar-Kotelly disagreed.

Although the Justice Department could have appealed, the judge made it clear that any appeal would not entitle the defendants to a stay of her decision. In other words, an appeal would not further delay release of the requested information.

Dunlap, who has been Maine’s secretary of state since 2013 and also served from 2005-2011 under former Gov. John Baldacci, said last month he never really wanted to sue, but felt confident that the law was on his side.

“Maybe there is nothing in these documents, but if nothing else, it sends a bright signal that if you’re going to do this kind of work, you’d better do it in public,” he said.

In this May 18, 2018 photo, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap addresses the Democratic Convention in Lewiston. (AP file photo)

Comments are no longer available on this story