One morning in June last year, just before 3 a.m., Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach emailed White House officials with an editing suggestion for a draft letter they were preparing on behalf of President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission. In addition to requesting a boatload of voter information, the letter asked state election officials to answer questions about evidence of voter fraud and to offer recommendations for preventing voter disenfranchisement and intimidation.
Kobach, the effective head of the commission, took issue with the order of the questions. The Republican didn’t want the inquiry about voter intimidation to come before the inquiry about voter fraud, because voter fraud was what the commission was really interested in.
“I don’t think voter intimidation should be listed before voter fraud. That is a secondary or tertiary concern of the commission,” Kobach wrote. White House officials appear to have heeded Kobach’s advice and put the question about voter fraud first in the letter it sent out that day.
The email was among thousands of documents publicly released last week by the watchdog group American Oversight and Democratic commission member Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s secretary of state. The controversial panel was abruptly disbanded in January. These emails provide the most in-depth look to date at its work, which was hidden from both the public and the Democrats who served on the commission.
Taken together, the documents show how the White House and Republican commission members sought to bolster the false narrative that voter fraud is a widespread problem in the U.S., despite no evidence that’s true.