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“The most bizarre thing I’ve ever been a part of”

"The most bizarre thing I've ever been a part of"

by digby


Trump knows he didn't really win the election straight up. And he gives it away in so many different ways ...

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, one of the 11 members of the commission formed by President Trump to investigate supposed voter fraud, issued a scathing rebuke of the disbanded panel on Friday, accusing Vice Chair Kris Kobach and the White House of making false statements and saying that he had concluded that the panel had been set up to try to validate the president’s baseless claims about fraudulent votes in the 2016 election.

Dunlap, one of four Democrats on the panel, made the statements in a report he sent to the commission’s two leaders — Vice President Pence and Kobach, who is Kansas’s secretary of state — after reviewing more than 8,000 documents from the group’s work, which he acquired only after a legal fight despite his participation on the panel.

Before it was disbanded by Trump in January, the panel had never presented any findings or evidence of widespread voter fraud. But the White House claimed at the time that it had shut down the commission despite “substantial evidence of voter fraud,” due to the mounting legal challenges it faced from states. Kobach, too, spoke around that time about how “some people on the left were getting uncomfortable about how much we were finding out.”

Dunlap said that the commission’s documents that were turned over to him underscore the hollowness of those claims: “they do not contain evidence of widespread voter fraud,” he said in his report, adding that some of the documentation seemed to indicate that the commission was predicting it would find evidence of fraud, evincing “a troubling bias.”

In particular, Dunlap pointed to an outline for a report the commission was working on that circulated in November 2017. The outline included sections for “Improper voter registration practices,” and “Instances of fraudulent or improper voting,” though the sections themselves were blank as they awaited evidence, speaking to what Dunlap said indicated a push for preordained conclusions.

“After reading this,” Dunlap said of the more than 8,000 pages of documents in an interview with The Washington Post, “I see that it wasn’t just a matter of investigating President Trump’s claims that three to five million people voted illegally, but the goal of the commission seems to have been to validate those claims.”

After a career of more than 20 years that has included stints as a state representative and the chairmanship of a committee on fisheries and wildlife, Dunlap said that his time on the panel was “the most bizarre thing I’ve ever been a part of.”


It's baffling why Trump hasn't made Kris Kobach a member of the cabinet:

Kris Kobach’s gubernatorial campaign employs three men identified as members of a white nationalist group by two political consultants who have worked with Republicans in Kansas.

Kobach spokeswoman Danedri Herbert rejects the accusation as a baseless distraction from real news in the closing days of a contested GOP primary race.

The consultants in early July independently named the three men, all in their early 20s, as members of American Heritage Initiative, a splinter of Identity Evropa, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as as a campus-based white supremacy group that builds community from shared racial identity.


Also:
Kris Kobach likes to tout his work for Valley Park, Mo. He has boasted on cable TV about crafting and defending the town’s hard-line anti-immigration ordinance. He discussed his “victory” there at length on his old radio show. He still lists it on his resume.

But “victory” isn’t the word most Valley Park residents would use to describe the results of Kobach’s work. With his help, the town of 7,000 passed an ordinance in 2006 that punished employers for hiring illegal immigrants and landlords for renting to them.

After two years of litigation and nearly $300,000 in expenses, the ordinance was largely gutted. Now, it is illegal only to “knowingly” hire illegal immigrants there — something that was already illegal under federal law. The town’s attorney can’t recall a single case brought under the ordinance.

“Ambulance chasing” is how Grant Young, a former mayor of Valley Park, describes Kobach’s role. Young characterized Kobach’s attitude as, “Let’s find a town that’s got some issues or pretends to have some issues, let’s drum up an immigration problem and maybe I can advance my political position, my political thinking and maybe make some money at the same time.”

Kobach used his work in Valley Park to attract other clients, with sometimes disastrous effects on the municipalities. The towns — some with budgets in the single-digit-millions — ran up hefty legal costs after hiring him to defend similar ordinances.

Farmers Branch, Texas, wound up owing $7 million in legal bills. Hazleton, Pa., took on debt to pay $1.4 million and eventually had to file for a state bailout. Fremont, Neb., raised property taxes to pay for Kobach’s services. None of the towns is currently enforcing an ordinance he helped craft.

“This sounds a little bit to me like Harold Hill in ‘The Music Man,’ ” said Larry Dessem, a law professor at the University of Missouri who focuses on legal ethics. “Got a problem here in River City and we can solve it if you buy the band instruments from me. He is selling something that goes well beyond legal services.”


He's the son Trump never had.