President Trump’s Vote Fraud Commission might be a threat to your privacy as well as your right to vote.
The Commission is demanding that states turn over a wide variety of very specific data on individuals including names, addresses, dates of birth, political affiliations, and the dates of elections people have voted in, The New York Times reported. Much of the data can be used to identify specific individuals; including the last four digits of social security numbers, past addresses, records of felony convictions, and information on military service.
Some of the data it is requesting; including the names of voters that send in mail-in ballots from abroad, could easily be used to discriminate against specific voters. The Commission claims the data is needed to ascertain the existence of vote fraud. Critics are afraid that Trump; or a future administration, would use the data to remove individuals likely to vote against their party from the voter rolls.
Even some Republicans have complained that the Commission is going too far. Election officials in 20 states and the District of Columbia have turned down the Commission’s requests because of privacy concerns. Disturbingly 30 states are cooperating.
A major concern is hacking because the commission wants to assemble a database on 200 million voters. That information would be invaluable to a foreign government like the one in Russia which wanted to interfere in an American election. Cyber criminals might use the same data for fraud or identity theft.
Worst of all Congress is doing nothing to stop this outrage despite the fact it might violate a federal law called the Privacy Act of 1974. The law specifically prevents the federal government from collecting data on citizens’ party affiliations.
Government Ethics Watchdog Resigns because of Trump
The man described as the “federal government’s top ethics watchdog;” Walter M. Shaub Jr., has resigned after making allegations of conflict of interest against President Trump.
"I know that the effect is that there's an appearance that the businesses are profiting from his occupying the presidency,” Shaub told CBS News. “And appearance matters as much as reality.”
Shaub resigned his position as director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), ahead of schedule on July 6, The New York Times reported. Shaub’s five year term was scheduled to end in January 2018.
The OGE is responsible for setting ethical standards for federal agencies. Shaub has been outspoken in demands that Trump liquidate all of his business interests; as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did before taking office.
Instead Trump turned his business over to his sons; Eric and Donald J. Trump Jr. He was able to do that because the President is not governed by conflict of interest laws.
Holding Trump Accountable
Disturbingly Congressional Republicans are doing nothing to hold Trump accountable for either the commission’s questionable demands or the conflicts of interest. They are doing this simply to appease a small minority of Republican primary voters and keep their cushy jobs.
There is only one way to hold Trump accountable; tell career Republicans like Peter Roskam “you’re fired” by electing a Democratic majority to both houses. Such a majority can launch investigations into both the commission; and Trump’s business dealings, and find out what’s really going on. It could also pass a conflict of interest law covering the presidency to prevent somebody like Trump from holding office in the future.
In his CBS interview Shaub made an important statement that every American should read. When told Trump might lose money if he gave up his business, Shaub pointed out an important truth:
"I have no sympathy for that," Shaub said. "I mean, he's in a position where he's going to have to send young men and women to die in combat potentially, or risk their lives at least. They're paying a much higher price. So, no, it's not too much to ask for somebody to incur a bit of a financial loss if they have to sell things off."