Today, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity met for the second time in New Hampshire. This commission has flown under the radar, but it remains one of the most troubling of Trump’s councils. The premise of the commission is that there is widespread voter fraud—but this is just a myth. The commission is just another propaganda machine by the Trump administration to continue fueling Trump’s lies that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, and its recommendations are likely to support measures of voter suppression. Actions to suppress the vote disproportionately impact people of color, which falls in line with the administration’s continued attacks on communities of color. Check out our new Get Smart video for more information about this sham commission.
So who’s the mastermind behind this commission (besides Trump, of course)? It’s Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has a well-documented history of pushing this voter fraud myth—and tying it to undocumented immigrants. His work at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) shows his willingness to target young immigrants, such as when he attempted to win a case that would allow “public universities to charge undocumented residents of Kansas in-state tuition rates.” The racial motives behind Kobach’s work on this commission are undeniable, as he once agreed with a radio show caller that the increase in Latino immigration could lead to the “ethnic cleansing” of whites.
In the meeting today, Kobach brought in John Lott, a NRA favorite, to present a new policy proposal to ending all that fraud they claim exists: background checks for voting. Simply put, this suggestion is laughable, but not surprising coming from a man who thinks more guns equal less crime. A constitutional law specialist, Adam Winkler, said, “Given the previous criticism of the background check system by John Lott, and the fact that the structure of voting regulation is entirely different than the regulation of guns, it’s hard to believe this is a serious proposal.” During the first meeting, the commission decided to ask for voter data of all Americans, and we remember how well that went. But, with the support of the president, this commission is one to watch.
Remember Trump’s business advisory councils? We brought those down with united action, and we can do the same with this commission! Use our easy toolkit to tweet at and call the commission members today. Make it clear that the refusal to stand up for voting rights is unacceptable.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#IAmStillIn. In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt claimed it was an inappropriate time to discuss the connection between climate change and severe weather. Pruitt’s effort to avoid tough conversations about human-caused climate change while witnessing its destructive effects is consistent with the Trump administration’s attempts to halt progress on the climate front (such as withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement).
But President Trump doesn’t speak for all of us on this issue, as many state and local leaders have pledged to uphold the landmark climate agreement. Show your continued support by visiting IAmStillIn.org and adding your name to the list of people who believe in science. And then share the photo below!
#DreamAct. The Trump Administration is now rolling back threats to only sign a Dream Act that is tied to border wall funding. Marc Short, White House Legislative Director, told reporters, “I don’t want to bind ourselves into a construct that makes reaching a conclusion on DACA impossible.” This slight shift in rhetoric from the White House is all the more reason to keep pressure on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act asap, with no compromises. Use our easy toolkit here to reach out to key members of Congress and let them know that Dreamers are #HereToStay.
Public Safety At Risk. The House Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing today on the SHARE Act – a bill purportedly aimed at “the preservation of sportsmen’s heritage” but that includes a number of giveaways to the gun lobby, including a dangerous provision that would repeal existing law regarding regulation of gun silencers. For more than 80 years, federal law has imposed heightened regulation of particularly dangerous firearms and accessories, including silencers, to help prevent their use in violent crime. There are good reasons for these regulations. Silencers can make it difficult for law enforcement to determine the location of a shooting and make it less likely that bystanders will recognize the sound of gunfire and report it. The potential harm that a silencer can wreak in the wrong hands is obvious. But the SHARE Act seeks to lift the requirements for purchasing a silencer and put public safety at risk. Proponents of the bill claim that it’s about protecting hunters’ hearing from loud gunshots. But we all know what it’s really about: more profits for the gun industry and the politicians it supports.
Russia & Kushner. New reports indicate that several top advisors and lawyers at the White House met this summer to discuss ousting Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior advisor. They were reportedly worried that Kushner’s involvement in the Russia probe might “create potential legal complications for Trump.” This is just another revelation in the increasingly tense Russia investigation. To learn more about the ties between Trump and Russia, check out our Russiagate report.
UNDER THE RADAR
Myanmar. Members of Congress and several human rights groups have called on President Trump to condemn the government of Myanmar for its role in the country’s ongoing ethnic-centered violence. Stateless Muslim Rohingya, long denied citizenship by Myanmar, are experiencing violence on multiple fronts, as Buddhist militia have joined with government forces to drive them out. With over 1,000 dead and 300,000 fleeing to nearby Bangladesh, the United Nations human rights chief has called the situation in Myanmar a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” In response, many are calling for Myanmar President Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel Peace Prize to be revoked, though the effort is unlikely to yield results.