The Campaign Legal Center, via a FOIA request, has unearthed a remarkable email sent by an employee of the conservative Heritage Foundation to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in late February expressing dismay that the administration’s planned “commission on election integrity” might include Democrats or even moderate Republicans.
The Department of Justice redacted the name of the Heritage employee, whose email signature identifies them as working for Heritage’s Institute for Constitutional Government. [Update: Heritage has confirmed to Gizmodo that the author of the email was now-Election Integrity Commission member Hans von Spakovsky]
In the email, the Heritage employee declares that Trump’s commission would be an “abject failure” if it were to include Democrats or “mainstream Republican officials and/or academics.” In the end, the commission was extended to include a who’s who of conservative voter suppression advocates, including the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky. It includes no prominent advocates of voting rights.
Here’s the full text of the email, as released by the Campaign Legal Center:
[Redacted] got a very disturbing phone call about the voter fraud commission that Vice President Pence is heading. We are told that the members of this commission are to be named on Tuesday. We’re also hearing that they are going to make this bipartisan and include Democrats. There isn’t a single Democratic official that will do anything other than obstruct any investigation of voter fraud and issue constant public announcements criticizing the commission and what it is doing, making claims that it is engaged in voter suppression. That decision alone shows how little the WHouse understands about this issue.
There are only a handful of real experts on the conservative side of this issue and not a single one of them (including [redacted]) have been called other than Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas. And we are told that some consider him too “controversial” to be on the commission. If they are picking mainstream Republican officials and/or academics to man this commission it will be an abject failure because there aren’t any that know anything about this or who have paid any attention to this issue over the years.
[Redacted] are concerned that this commission is being organized in a way that will guarantee its failure. We are astonished that no one in the WH has even bothered to consult with [redacted] despite the fact that the three of us have written more on the voter fraud issue than anyone in the country on our side of the political aisle. I think you know from the white paper we sent you that based on our experience we have thought long and hard about what needs to be done.