Des Moines, Iowa — The ACLU of Iowa today sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate requesting specifics of President Trump's "voter fraud" commission's communications with the Secretary and records pertaining to that request. (The FOIA request is here.)
The ACLU nationally is suing the Commission under a federal law designed to ensure public accountability of all advisory committees. Commission meetings have been held in secret, for example. More details about the ACLU’s concerns about this lack of government transparency can be found here.
Pate has said that, in accordance Iowa law, he will not be sharing private information on Iowa voters with the Commission. He said that he will share public information only after it is properly requested.
The ACLU request does not seek either that public or private voter information. Instead, it wants to review communications and records in an effort to make sure that the Commission complies with all open government rules under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).
Mark Stringer, ACLU of Iowa executive director, said that under FACA, the commission must meet publicly and make written records available for public inspection. "President Trump's voter fraud commission is worrisome even on its face: It is stacked with people who have made wild exaggerations about election irregularities and their goal is to sell the fabrication that somehow Trump won the 2016 popular vote. It's also part of a bigger goal of suppressing the vote, especially of low-income people, people of color, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. The FOIA request is a small part of making sure that doesn't happen."
The ACLU of Iowa request is part of a concerted effort by the ACLU. Other state offices of the ACLU are also making similar requests of their secretaries of state.