Lawsuit challenges White House election commission's collecting of voter data

A group of former Obama administration lawyers filed a lawsuit Friday against President Trump's "election integrity" commission. The lawsuit argues that the commission violates federal laws that require an agency to complete certain procedures before requesting such a large amount of data.
By Simon Smith | Oct 02, 2017
A watchdog group filed a new lawsuit Friday in a Washington, DC, district court against President Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity over the commission's effort to glean comprehensive information about every U.S. voter. The lawsuit argues that the commission violated the Paperwork Reduction Act, a 1980 federal law that requires the federal government to go through specific procedures before requesting large volumes of data.

The plaintiff group, United for Democracy, consists of former Obama administration attorneys who oversaw administration compliance with federal rules and regulations. They request in their lawsuit that the court halt the data collection and compel the commission to either destroy or securely lock down the data that it has already collected until it complies with the law.

"If the commission wants to seek that information, the Paperwork Reduction Act says it's got to give an account of why and how it's going to do so responsibly, and it's got to give the public a chance to respond," said Larry Schwartztol, an attorney for the group. "So we are going to ask the court to issue an order saying that the commission cannot undertake this data collection until it does those things."

United for Democracy has numerous other pending lawsuits related to the disclosure of government information under the Freedom of Information Act. In July, it sued Trump confidant Roger Stone and other former Trump campaign officials on behalf of victims of the Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee.

The group is not the first to sue the election commission, however. Several cases have unsuccessfully challenged its activities, such as another Washington district court case that lost because the judge rules that the commission did not fit the legal definition of a "federal agency" under one of the laws in question.



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