An influential member of the White House voting commission wants to push the U.S. Justice Department to more aggressively target illegal voting by having it provide a yearly report on voter fraud.
The news recalls a controversial campaign by George W. Bush administration officials to pressure federal prosecutors to go after voter fraud for political reasons. That effort, when exposed, led to the resignation of the attorney general.
Commissioner J. Christian Adams (pictured) on Monday emailed Andrew Kossack, the commission’s executive director, asking that Kossack request that DoJ provide a public report on election crimes, and on voter fraud prosecutions.
“As far as I can tell, there has not been a single prosecution whatsoever for any double voting or any non-citizen voting,” Adams wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Huffington Post. “I know with certainty that multiple instances of double voting and alien voting have been brought to the attention of the appropriate federal officials, and no action has been taken. Of course when you don’t prosecute crimes, you tend to have more crimes.”
Adams has been a leader of the conservative movement to stoke fear over illegal voting and build support for restrictive voting policies.
Kossack didn’t respond to The Daily Democracy about whether the commisison would contact the Justice Department as Adams requested.
Already the commission appears to have coordinated with the Justice Department, which has reversed course since President Trump took office to become far more supportive of restrictive voting laws. DoJ is withholding hundreds of commission-related documents being sought in a transparency lawsuit filed by commission critics. And in June, the commission sent a letter to state election officials requesting voter data on the same day that a Justice Department voting official sent a similar letter.
If the commission or individual commissioners succeeded in pressuring DoJ to more aggressively target illegal voting, it would be in some ways a repeat of what happened during the administration of President George W. Bush.
At that time, Republican lawmakers asked White House officials to pressure federal prosecutors to file voter fraud charges, believing that ginning up concern about fraud would help the GOP politically. Karl Rove and others then conveyed that message to Justice Department higher-ups. At least one U.S. attorney, Republican David Iglesias, was fired when, after an investigation, he declined to file charges, citing insufficient evidence. After congressional investigators released emails that laid bare the scheme, as well as other evidence of politicization at DoJ, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned.