The now-disbanded commission that President Donald Trump set up to investigate election integrity did not find evidence of widespread voter fraud, a former member of the panel said on Friday, citing internal documents he obtained related to commission activities.
“I have reviewed the Commission documents made available to me and they do not contain evidence of widespread voter fraud,” Maine’s Democratic secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap, wrote in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas’ Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach.
In May 2017, the President established the commission after falsely claiming that “millions of people” voted illegally for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, costing him the popular vote. Trump named Pence as chairman and Kobach – a noted proponent of voter fraud theories and related policies – as vice chair of the commission.
Dunlap was also named to the panel, but he sued the commission in US district court in November 2017, alleging that the group had withheld key information from him. A judge ruled in his favor the next month and said the panel should provide him with the documents he requested.
Trump then moved to dissolve the commission in January 2018.
In his letter, Dunlap wrote that he “joined the Commission in good faith,” but soon became concerned that “its purpose was not to pursue the truth but rather to provide an official imprimatur of legitimacy on President Trump’s assertions that millions of illegal votes were cast during the 2016 election and to pave the way for policy changes designed to undermine the right to vote.”
The Maine secretary of state also accused the White House and Kobach of making false statements and said that the commission showed “troubling bias.”
The letter highlights a White House statement announcing the dissolution of the commission, which asserts that there is evidence of “substantial” voter fraud. Dunlap wrote, however, “after months of litigation that should not have been necessary,” he can now report that the White House statement was false.
“Indeed, while staff prepared drafts of a report to be issued by the Commission, the sections on evidence of voter fraud are glaringly empty,” he wrote.
The White House and the vice president’s office did not immediately provide CNN with comment.
Kobach said in a statement to CNN on Saturday that it appeared Dunlap was “willfully blind to the voter fraud in front of his nose.”
The commission was presented with more than 1,000 convictions for voter fraud since 2000, and convictions represent a tiny percentage of the total number of incidents, the statement said. In addition, the commission was also presented with about 8,400 instances of double voting in the 2016 election looking at 20 states. If the commission had looked at all 50 states, “the number would have been exponentially higher,” Kobach said.
“For some people, no matter how many cases of voter fraud you show them, there will never be enough for them to admit that there’s a problem,” his statement said.
Dunlap wrote in his letter, however, that he did not “expect the public simply to accept my conclusions,” and noted, “there is no single document that reveals there is no widespread voter fraud.” But, he said, “I rely on the lack of any evidence in the totality of what I reviewed.”
An associated web page contains links to a variety of documents and states that “these materials have been provided by the White House.”
CNN’s Tal Kopan and Eli Watkins contributed to this report