Trump Voter Fraud Panel Can't Duck Suit Claiming Ulterior Motive

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration is being ordered to widen its search for records and cough up emails about the work of two Justice Department officials who worked with the president’s disbanded commission on election fraud.

Watchdog groups demanded the records as part of their effort to show that the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was less about voter fraud and more about voter suppression.

President Trump created the panel after the 2016 election to look into unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. He claimed -- without evidence -- that millions of non-citizens voted in the election. He said that was why Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of nearly 3 million. After several states balked at the commission’s request for voter records, Trump disbanded the panel in January 2018.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan ruled Tuesday that the Justice Department and other federal agencies must turn over the private emails of Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore and Justice Department attorney Maureen Riordan that relate to their work with the commission.

The judge also denied a request by the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget to narrow their search for records about the commission’s work.

The lawsuit was filed by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and the Protect Democracy Project.

The case is Brennan Center for v. U.S. Department of Justice, 17-cv-06335, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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