Email #52, Subject: voter fraud?

Yesterday I wrote to you, asking that you take a stance on the President’s claim that millions voted illegally in November. Later in the day I saw you on TV doing exactly that. To that degree you deserve credit. You are not ducking the issue. But I was confused to hear your imply that the President’s unsubstantiated claim have merit.  As I said yesterday, Speaker Ryan flatly and clearly denied the existence of any evidence. Fox News is reporting the same:

“multiple law enforcement sources told Fox News that there was no evidence to support Trump’s claims. Spicer said Tuesday that Trump’s claim was based on “studies and evidence.” Spicer did not provide hard data to back up the claim, citing only a 2008 study that called for updating voter rolls but did not conclude there has been pervasive election fraud.”

When you were asked, you said: “There’s a long history of voter fraud in this country.” That’s a true but irrelevant and intentionally obscuring statement. You then repeated a joke about Virginians wishing to be buried in a certain district in order to keep voting after they die. Again, irrelevant and obscuring. Finally, you referenced an unnamed group “affiliated” with the Democratic party registering dead people in our district 6 in 2016.  Are you saying this was done intentionally? Are you saying you have evidence of voter fraud or the verifiable intention of commiting voter fraud? Have people been arrested and charged? How many are being investigated? Voter fraud is a federal crime with a five-year prison term. How many are likely to be convicted?

The President made a shocking claim. Now you have made a shocking claim too. But your tone on TV was oddly light, like you were just mentioning a minor fact. Given that your first two responses were intetionally misleading, it’s difficult to take your third statement seriously. It seemed you were undermining trust in the American election process just to score a quick PR point for the President. You told me elected officials should be held to the “highest standards.” Did your own behavior yesterday live up to those standards?

 

Email #51, Subject: massive voter fraud?

When asked this week about the White House’s allegations of massive voter fraud, Speaker Ryan answered: “I’ve seen no evidence to that effect. I’ve made that very, very clear.” I’m impressed the Speaker is willing to contradict his party’s leader when he knows the President is wrong. That takes integrity. You, on the other hand, have said nothing. You’re the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee with a responsibility for overseeing ethics in the federal government, specifically overreach by the executive branch, and yet you have said nothing in response to the President’s statements. If you believe they’re true, say so. If you believe they’re false, so that instead. But understand that your silence is eroding public trust in your ability to govern and oversee properly.  It appears cowardly and cynical. It appears that you are willing to ignore lies from the executive branch as long as the executive branch doesn’t block your personal agenda. Take a stand. There is no issue more central to democracy than the legitimacy of our elections.

Chris Gavaler

Email #17, Subject: voter fraud

Donald Trump says that: “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” That is a massive number.  A recent poll by Qualtrics shows that over half those who did vote for him believe that it is true. That’s an even more massive number. As the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, you must respond to this crisis. Either our election system is fraudulent, or the allegations are. America needs the facts, and the Judiciary Committee should provide them. Exactly how many cases of voter fraud in the 2016 Presidential election have been documented? How many other investigations are pending? Is our system riddled with corruption or is the public misinformed? This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue. This is restoring trust in the single most important aspect of our government. It is your responsibility to act.

Chris Gavaler