Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) wants an
answer from President Donald Trump’s choice to run the Department of Justice’s
Civil Rights Division on his possible contacts with members of the Presidential
Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and others who have pushed false
claims of widespread voter fraud in American elections. Whitehouse is
also disappointed in the nominee’s failure to repudiate President Trump’s
baseless voter fraud claims.
On Monday, Trump’s nominee for Assistant Attorney General
for the Civil Rights Division, Eric Dreiband, submitted responses to Senators’
follow-up questions to his Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.
However, Dreiband dodged Whitehouse’s question about whether he had
communicated with Commission members and other purveyors of false information
on voter fraud.
“I have heard from many people about my nomination,”
Dreiband wrote in reply to Whitehouse. That response is “plainly
non-responsive and inadequate,” Whitehouse writes in re-submitting his question
before an expected Judiciary Committee vote on the nomination next week.
In response to a request from Whitehouse that the nominee repudiate
President Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud, Dreiband claimed he was
“unable to comment” because he was “not aware of data or analyses regarding
The Commission has drawn widespread criticism for seeking
sensitive voter roll data on the majority of the voting public and conducted
highly partisan hearings based on discredited allegations of voter fraud.
In a letter
sent earlier this week, Whitehouse and other Senators raised numerous concerns
with apparent coordination between the Commission and the Civil Rights
In March, three members of the Commission—Kansas Secretary of
State Kris Kobach and former Civil Rights Division staffers J. Christopher
Adams and Hans von Spakovsky—wrote a letter
calling on the Justice Department to rid the Civil Rights Division of
“ideological rot” by stripping career attorneys of hiring and firing authority
and vesting that authority with Trump political appointees. In June, the
Commission and the Chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division
sent letters on the same day to state election officials seeking extensive
voter roll information, including names, dates of birth, voting histories, and