On Wednesday, as the controversial Arizona election “audit” neared the end of its second full week, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division asked that the state Senate address serious concerns about ballot security and potential voter intimidation. Audit officials brushed off those questions on Thursday.
The recount’s partisan origins were of course grounds for concern already. So was the selection of the firm Cyber Ninjas to lead the audit, and that firm’s lack of experience and its stated plans to contact individual voters. But the last week has produced even more alarming stories out of Phoenix about how the audit is being run:
Of course, Arizona isn’t the only state to be seizing the myth of widespread voter fraud in its quest to undermine elections and enact new voting restrictions. Other states are enacting new laws and moving to aggressively pare down the number of eligible voters on voter rolls, risking large numbers of people from being incorrectly removed.
Some news from around the country:
Georgia: The state that in late March became the center of the outcry over voter suppression with its enactment of its harsh new voting law will begin a mass cancellation of voter registrations, using information from other states. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, this year’s purge is expected to remove more than 113,000 registrations.
Texas: Following the corporate blowback against Georgia’s voting law, more than two dozen large national companies have publicly come out against new voting-restriction proposals in Texas. In a statement, they said that they “oppose any changes that would restrict eligible voters’ access to the ballot.”
Florida: In a closed-door event for which Fox News was the only media outlet admitted, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new election law that limits ballot drop boxes and imposes new ID requirements for absentee voting. The NAACP, Disability Rights Florida, and Common Cause filed a complaint in federal court challenging the new law.
One more story from Texas: American Oversight obtained records from Galveston County that contain a number of grievances filed by people held at the county jail after the devastating February winter storm that wiped out power across Texas. The grievances detail a water shortage that left more than 1,000 people stuck in unsanitary conditions without access to bathroom facilities. The Houston Chronicle, which reported on the records, has more details.
In addition to focusing on threats to voting rights and democracy, American Oversight has also been working to hold Trump officials accountable for their actions. This week, we uncovered and reported on a number of new documents from the previous administration.
Previously Unreported Pompeo Whistleblower Complaint
Last month, the State Department’s inspector general released a report that found that former Secretary Mike Pompeo and his wife had repeatedly misused department resources, from having staff run personal errands to having them assist with meetings or events that appeared to serve Pompeo’s personal political goals.
We obtained a previously unreported whistleblower complaint from late 2019 regarding staff having been tasked with preparing Pompeo for a Kansas event, at a time when he was reportedly considering running for the U.S. Senate there. That complaint, along with emails showing Susan Pompeo asking staff to help organize Kansas events, were reported on by McClatchy.
‘A Possible Discreet Assignment’
That’s what Seth DuCharme, then the counselor to Attorney General William Barr, wrote to Scott Brady, then the U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh, in January 2020, two weeks after President Trump’s first impeachment. The next month, Barr confirmed that information provided by Rudy Giuliani in Giuliani’s hunt for damaging information on Joe Biden was being routed through Brady’s office. We also obtained an email showing that the office had been in contact with Giuliani’s attorney in February 2020.
Abortion Access for Immigrant Teens in Custody
We published a report on records we uncovered with Equity Forward and Campaign for Accountability that provide new details about how senior Trump administration officials sought to block pregnant minors in immigration detention from obtaining abortions.
The emails follow top political appointees’ efforts to track the pregnancies of girls in custody, including in the case of “Jane Doe,” who had an abortion after a highly publicized legal fight in 2017. The records also contain information what appears to be a similar, previously unreported case.
Gene Hamilton’s Contacts with Far-Right Anti-Immigration Groups
Former Trump administration official Gene Hamilton, who held prominent positions at the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, has lately been involved in the creation of a new conservative group led Stephen Miller. While Miller is often cited as the architect of Trump’s harshest anti-immigration policies, Hamilton’s role was equally crucial in enacting that agenda.
We previously reported on records that reveal frequent contact between the two during the height of family separation; this week, we wrote about records that show his contacts with anti-immigration groups that are now attempting to prevent the Biden administration from undoing Trump’s nativist legacy.
Other Stories We’re Following
Blinken will visit Ukraine in show of support against Russia (New York Times)
NY: Broadband companies paid for 8.5 million fake net neutrality comments (Associated Press)
The Pentagon wants to take a harder line on domestic extremism. How far can it go? (Washington Post)
Trump attorney, other allies launch voter fraud organization (Politico)
Migrants separated from their children will be allowed into U.S. (New York Times)
‘We’re terrorized’: LA sheriffs frequently harass families of people they kill, says report (Guardian)
New Jersey Legionnaires’ disease outbreak kept quiet in state prisons (Intercept)
Part of Investigation: