Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was the first governor to defy requests for information from Donald Trump's voter commission, announcing that he refuses to turn over voter registration information from the state.
An attorney for McAuliffe previously filed voter identification lawsuits in a number of states that were bankrolled by millions of dollars from liberal billionaire George Soros, who wants to expand the electorate by 10 million voters, documents leaked last year show. The governor's attorney also works with a number of major progressive groups on voter efforts.
McAuliffe, who has vetoed a number of voter identification related bills in recent months, announced Thursday that he will not abide by the request from Trump's voter commission.
"Today the Commonwealth and the other 49 states received a lengthy request from Kris Kobach, the vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, requesting a list of all registered Virginia voters, the last four digits of their social security numbers, their addresses, date of birth, political affiliation, and their voting history," McAuliffe said in a statement. "The Vice Chair’s letter also contained a list of vague inquiries about the election policies and laws of the Commonwealth."
"I have no intention of honoring this request. Virginia conducts fair, honest, and democratic elections, and there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in Virginia," it continues. "This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November. At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression."
Marc Elias, a powerhouse lawyer for a number of high-profile Democrats, is an attorney for McAuliffe. Elias is a partner at the D.C.-based law firm Perkins Coie and served as general counsel for Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign.
As Elias was serving as Clinton's top lawyer, he was simultaneously filing voter identification lawsuits in a number of states. Elias spearheaded the effort from his capacity as an attorney at Perkins Coie and separate from the Clinton campaign.
Elias began the effort by filing lawsuits in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Virginia. The Ohio Organizing Collaborative, one of the initial plaintiffs on an Elias lawsuit in Ohio, was replaced and later investigated for voter fraud. A canvasser for the group was ultimately jailed on 13 felony counts of voter fraud, including registering dead people to vote.
The voter identification efforts were fueled by at least $5 million from Soros, whose top goal includes expanding the electorate by at least 10 million people by 2018, the Washington Free Beacon discovered after hacked documents from the billionaire's organizations were leaked last year.
Following Trump's victory, Democrats quickly scrambled to build a massive network to combat voter ID-related issues.
Let America Vote, a nonprofit founded by former Democratic Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, filed paperwork with the federal election commission in February. The group carries a mission of "winning the public debate over voter suppression in the United States." Elias sits on the group's board of advisers.
Elias was also tapped earlier this year for the board of Priorities USA Action, a liberal Super PAC that shifted their focus to pushing back against voter ID laws.
The group pulled in $157 million in itemized individual contributions last year, with $9.5 million coming from George Soros. Alexander Soros, George's son who has quietly stepped up as a major liberal donor, cut a $1 million check to the group.
Priorities announced plans of absorbing Every Citizen Counts, a nonprofit created by Clinton allies that focused on mobilizing Latino and African American voters. Elias would lead the challenges for Priorities from the nonprofit arm.
"McAuliffe's posturing should surprise no one. Every time someone takes a good look at Virginia's voter roll, they find evidence of election crimes that his policies inspired," said Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity group.
"Given his party's recent obsession with all things Russia, I do not see how he can justify refusing to answer questions like, ‘How can the Commission support local and state election administrators with regard to information technology security and vulnerabilities?'."