Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a new interview that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s election integrity panel has been unable to meet for months due to several lawsuits against the panel.
“Much of the past few months has been spent by commission staff answering discovery requests for information and drafting affidavits and things that like — going through the legwork of litigation, and that takes time,” Kobach said, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. “We have a very small staff in Washington, D.C., and that staff has been bogged down in litigation.”
“I’m not aware of any presidential commission that has encountered so much litigation from special interest groups,” he added.
As a result, the commission has not met since September, but will likely meet again in January, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
The commission has been a source of controversy since it was formed in May. Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that widespread voter fraud cost him the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election. Kobach, who has made similar claims, defends the panel by saying it seeks to find facts, not prove theories.
“There’s never actually been a nationwide effort to look at the scope of voter fraud,” Kobach told CNN in May. “Why wouldn’t we want to collect as much data as possible?”
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The Government Accountability Office announced in October it would investigate the commission’s activities.
A Democratic member of the panel sued the commission in November, saying he was unable to access documents necessary to do his job.
Advocacy groups have filed a number of other lawsuits arguing the commission has itself violated the law, or violates voters’ rights to privacy.
Kobach co-chairs the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and is running for governor of Kansas.
— Updated 1:18 p.m.