Back in May, Donald Trump backed his propagandist accusation that millions of illegal immigrants voted in the November 2016 presidential election, not with evidence, but by commissioning a panel via executive order to investigate said accusation of voter fraud. Trump did this even though election law experts and most state election officials said that voter fraud is rare.
Now the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. Congress watchdog group, has turned the tables by agreeing to investigate the controversial Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (PACEI). Reuters reports that the GAO’s investigation follows three Democratic senators raising concerns that Trump’s commission is actively working, not to investigate voter fraud, but to undermine and diminish the public’s confidence in the democratic process.
In letter published on Wednesday, the GAO stated that it has accepted a request from Senators Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bennet, and Cory Booker to investigate the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Trump’s panel has been heavily criticized both by voting rights groups and democrats, arguing it is a subversive group created to make it harder for voters to cast ballots.
The letter reads: “GAO accepts your request as work that is within the scope of its authority. At the current time we anticipate that staff with the required skills will be available to initiate an engagement in about five months. Your request has been assigned to Mr. George Scott, Managing Director,Homeland Security and Justice.
The GAO’s letter was in response to the three senators’ letter written last week to the watchdog group. The senators are concerned that the commission, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, is not being transparent, having not responded to any requests in regard to their activities and gathered information. Their letter stated that the panel’s lack of transparency could “unnecessarily diminish confidence in our democratic process.” The letter further explains their concerns:
“Unfortunately, the PACEI has ignored numerous requests from Members of Congress seeking clarification on the PACEI’s activities. Open record requests and court documents from litigation have provided some insight into the creation and operations of the PACEI, which we believe are cause for serious concern. Additionally, investigative reports raise questions about the partisan motives and actions of the Commission.”
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