Washington, DC – In response to President Trump’s decision to dissolve the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (PACEI), American Oversight’s Executive Director Austin Evers released the following statement:
“It’s no coincidence that the president dissolved the commission once it became clear it wouldn’t be permitted to operate in the shadows. Secretary Dunlap deserves our gratitude for stepping into the breach to take on adversaries of democracy. We intend to continue to fight for his right to access to the commission’s secret communications. President Trump can dissolve the commission, but the law doesn’t allow him or the commission to slink away from view and avoid accountability.“
American Oversight, along with the law firm Patterson Belknap, has represented Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, a member of the PACEI, in an ongoing lawsuit to enforce his rights as a commissioner.
On December 22, 2017, a federal judge ruled that Sec. Dunlap had been improperly excluded from participating in the commission’s work and had been denied basic access by commission Vice Chair Kris Kobach to information needed to fulfill his role.
The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requires the PACEI to provide all commissioners with equal information as the group makes decisions and conducts its inquiry. Dunlap had repeatedly sought access to commission records – including meeting materials, witness invitations, and correspondence with other commissioners – but had been rebuffed on each occasion.
Dunlap’s suit is based on the 1999 DC Circuit Court decision in Cummock v. Gore, in which the court held that commissioners may not be denied access to information.
The opinion issued on December 22, 2017 is here.
More background on Sec. Dunlap’s lawsuit is here.
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