Pema Levy for Mother Jones:
In mid-August, as Washington reeled over the deadly white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump quietly announced his pick for the top civil rights job at the Department of Homeland Security. The woman he chose doesn’t have a background in national security or in protecting civil rights. Instead, she’s a Republican election lawyer who has worked with conservative groups pushing for policies that restrict the ability of minorities to vote.
The appointment of Cameron Quinn to a prominent civil rights role is a testament to the influence in the Trump administration of a small cadre of conservative lawyers and activists who have fought against voting rights in recent years, many of whomTrump appointed to the commission he convened to ensure election integrity….
Quinn’s track record in election law has drawn criticism from Democrats and earned her a reputation as a Republican activist. She has been involved in Republican efforts to push the unproven narrative that voter fraud is a widespread threat that must be combated with restrictive voting laws, such as voter ID requirements. These measures have repeatedly been found to disproportionately reduce voting among minority, poor, and elderly citizens.
In 2005, when Republicans were trying to provide academic proof of widespread voter fraud, a top lawyer for Bush’s reelection campaign founded the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) to raise concerns about illegal voting. Quinn served as one of the group’s directors. The group, staffed with Republican operatives, faced allegations that it was a front for efforts by Karl Rove and national Republicans seeking to disenfranchise Democratic voters through restrictive laws. ACVR and its nonprofit arm attempted to assemble evidence of voter fraud with their own research reports, submitted court briefs, and hired lobbyists to help pass voter ID laws in Missouri and Pennsylvania. They were aided in this effort by the Republican National Lawyers Association, where Quinn was a member and served in various leadership roles over the years. (A few years later, as an independent consultant, she counted the association as a client.)
ACVR closed its doors—really just a PO box—suddenly in March 2007. Its website domain expired, taking with it the group’s reports and testimony. Quinn’s LinkedIn page and Republican National Lawyers Association bio page do not mention it. By the time of ACVR’s demise, Quinn was working as the special counsel for voting matters at the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, succeeding von Spakovsky.