One of the Democrats on President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is suing the group and Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Kobach is vice chairman of the controversial panel, which Trump created to study election issues.
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, who filed the lawsuit, said he hadn’t been receiving information about voting commission activities.
“Secretary Dunlap has been, and continues to be, blocked from receiving commission documents necessary to carry out his responsibilities,” the lawsuit says.
Dunlap said the group operates with a lack of transparency. His lawsuit said Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Kobach have attempted to create a “veneer of legitimacy” by making the panel bipartisan.
“But by obstructing certain commissioners’ access to information and failing to allow substantive participation of commissioners … the commission and its staff have compromised the legitimacy of any findings,” the suit argues.
Kobach, who is among the Republican candidates for Kansas governor, said the lawsuit is “baseless and paranoid.” In a statement provided by his office, Kobach said outside issues have stalled the commission’s work and he denied Dunlap’s charges.
“He assumes that correspondence regarding commission business was occurring but not being shared with him. Dunlap’s assumption is incorrect,” Kobach said. “I did not receive any such correspondence either.”
Those events include the death of a member of the group, lawsuits targeting the panel and the arrest of a staff member on charges unrelated to the group’s work.
“It is not at all surprising that commission staff were very busy during this period,” Kobach said. “Ironically, Dunlap’s lawsuit is only going to increase the workload faced by commission staff and Department of Justice attorneys.”
The commission last met in September.
Trump has made an unsubstantiated claim that there were millions of illegal votes in the 2016 election. Kobach has supported Trump’s argument while others have criticized it.
Stephen Kranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda.