The news that notorious Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Vice President Mike Freaking Pence, and the rest of Trump’s supposed “election integrity” committee are doing their business via personal email is, of course, deeply pathetic given the froth and spittle Republicans have spent in their years-long crusade against something something Hillary Clinton’s personal email.
But what puts the capper on it is that, unlike Clinton’s use of a personal email address in her State Department duties, the Mike Pence/Kris Kobach version is very likely illegal.
In a court filing Tuesday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law claims that members of the commission “have been using personal email accounts rather than federal government systems to conduct Commission work.” The complaint alleges that use of non-government email would violate the Presidential Records Act.
“Defendants’ counsel further stated they did not yet have any settled plan for how they would collect emails from these personal, non-federal government systems, or even who would conduct the searches,” the filing notes, adding that it’s “critically important” that the emails from personal accounts are logged in the same way as government emails.
The Presidential Records Act requires administration records to be maintained and makes them public property; those records can be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests five years after each president leaves office. A separate law, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, requires open committee meetings and specific record-keeping.
This is just one of a series of ongoing lawsuits charging that the “election integrity” committee is operating illegally. They’re also being sued for their demand that states turn over detailed voter information and for violating other federal transparency laws, while an NAACP suit charges the committee was formed with the specific goal of disenfranchising non-white Americans.
Having the commission do its business via the personal email accounts of such cretins as Hans von Spakovsky, however, is quite the cherry on top of that sundae. I do believe Republican leaders were not being entirely honest with us when they gave all those dramatic speeches about how we couldn’t possibly abide a national leader who mixed personal and work emails in the same account.