On Monday, the U.S Court of District of Columbia released a 35-page opinion, expressing the approval for President Trump’s Fraud Commission to collect data regarding millions of American voters. Also, the court turned down the temporary restraining order against the Commission filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
The Voter Fraud Panel Now Has Access to Private Information
Federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly stated that the Commission does not act as a federal agency and thus, it does not warrant an assessment of how it would impact private information. The judge said:
Under the binding precedent of this circuit, entities in close proximity to the President, which do not wield ‘substantial independent authority,’ are not ‘agencies’ for purposes of the [Administrative Procedure Act.] On this basis, neither the Commission or the Director of White House Information Technology—who is currently charged with collecting voter roll information on behalf of the Commission—are ‘agencies” for purposes of the APA, meaning the Court cannot presently exert judicial review over the collection process.
The suits filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center were due to Vice Chairman of the Panel Kris Kobach’s request that states should upload voter data on a website hosted by the Defense Department. However, now, the White House is going to collect the data, avoiding thus any federal implications. Kollar-Kotelly added:
Given the factual circumstances presently before the Court […] defendants’ collection of voter roll information does not currently involve agency action.
EPIC Will Push On
While Kobach supports judge’s decision, the President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center Marc Rotenberg declared he would not give up with the suit. He said:
EPIC will push forward. The Commission cannot evade privacy obligations by playing a shell game with the nation’s voting records.
Democrats as well are not pleased by the formation of the Fraud Commission. They declared it is, in essence, a tool of voter suppression and that the President’s claims have no basis.
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