A lawsuit filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund against President Donald Trump and his newly launched voter fraud commission in part centers around the argument that the commission is racist.
The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, argues that Trump has neither the constitutional nor statutory authority to create a new "executive organ for the purpose of launching an investigation that targets individuals or groups of people" and adds that it is an "unauthorized Presidential action."
Trump, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, the voter commission, Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the commission, and Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas and the vice-chair of the commission, are listed as defendants on the suit.
"Both before and since his election, President Trump has made repeated statements alleging that there is widespread voter fraud throughout the United States, including the false claim that he lost the popular vote because of 3 to 5 million ‘illegal' votes for former Secretary Hillary Clinton," the suit states.
"The President and his surrogates have also repeatedly described voter fraud in language suggesting that voters of color are more likely to commit voter fraud than white voters, using racially-coded language linking voter fraud to predominantly-minority urban communities and to ‘illegals,'" according to the suit.
The suit claims that Trump's choice of Kobach to serve as vice-chair shows that motivations for the commission in part from stem from "racial discrimination."
They expand upon this by stating that the election integrity group headed by J. Christian Adams, another appointee to the commission, "supports restrictive voting laws" and that its literature is filled with "virulently racist rhetoric, equating non-citizens to nonhumans and trafficking heavily in the rhetoric of ‘invasion."
The Legal Defense Fund is referring to a report titled "Alien Invasion" that was released by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), the group led by Adams. The study found that thousands of illegal voters were on the rolls in Virginia. It has led to legislation in the state that was ultimately vetoed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Adams has also fought back against attacks on voter identification laws that were backed by millions in funding from liberal billionaire George Soros. Marc Elias, an attorney at the D.C.-based law firm Perkins Coie, who was the top lawyer for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and is also a lawyer for Gov. McAuliffe, led the efforts against the voter ID laws in a number of states including Virginia.
In Ohio, Elias initially filed a lawsuit against the state's voter ID laws on behalf of a liberal activist group called the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. The group was replaced on the suit and later investigated for fraudulent voter registrations. A canvasser for the group pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in prison for falsifying voter registrations that included registering dead people to vote.
PILF has additionally filed lawsuits against multiple cities whose voter rolls contain more registered than eligible voters. These efforts were countered by Demos, an organization that is also funded by Soros and chaired by the daughter of Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).
"These groups are so threatened by this Commission it's humorous. This is about more than covering up for fraud and exploitable weaknesses in our election systems," Logan Churchwell, communications director for PILF, told the Washington Free Beacon. "The NAACP's donors expect the organization to be in the room where it happens, regardless of who's in elected office at the time. Their radical positions have foreclosed that opportunity–so now they're reduced to these antics."
"The NAACP has removed itself so far from the mainstream on civil rights that it has become utterly unrecognizable today," Churchwell continued. "When a group finds common cause with bigots who attack voter ID laws because ‘less sophisticated' black voters can't follow them or considers the concept of voter registration to be ‘voter suppression', you're predictably going to be left in the cold."
A federal judge recently denied an injunction against the panel to open its Wednesday meeting to the public and to require the group to disclose additional records about its work, Politico reported.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund's communications department was unavailable for comment on the lawsuit.