Trump Appoints Hate Group Figures to Voter Fraud Commission | Southern Poverty Law Center – [May 16, 2017 / Ryan Lenz and Stephen Piggott] — 9The White House said Kobach will co-chair the commission along with Vice President Mike Pence. Kobach has long advocated for highly restrictive voting laws. “I’ve followed Kris Kobach’s career for 20 years. He is seriously dangerous, a xenophobic threat to democracy,” Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham University, tweeted on May 11.
In addition to crusading for voting restrictions, Kobach has been a central figure in the nativist movement for more than a decade. He is the architect of Arizona’s notorious SB 1070, or “papers please” law, as well as a series of other anti-immigrant statutes enacted by states and municipalities. In 2011 the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) documented the harm caused by anti-immigrant laws he championed in several communities. A graduate of Yale law, Kobach has served as counsel to the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) since 2004. IRLI is the legal arm of the FAIR, a group whose leaders have historic ties to white supremacists and eugenicists and who have made numerous racist statements. Kobach himself addressed a racist gathering in 2015.
On May 11, the Trump administration announced five other members of the commission, including Ken Blackwell. Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state who previously headed up Trump’s transition team on domestic issues, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council (FRC), designated by the SPLC as an anti-LGBT hate group. The FRC is known for making false and defamatory claims about LGBT people, including the baseless claim that very large numbers of gay men are child molesters. According to Right Wing Watch, Blackwell has attacked President Obama for his endorsement of LGBT rights, saying the president was “weakening the family.” A senior official with the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights group, today described Blackwell as “a man who has spent his entire career going after LGBTQ Americans.”
Like Kobach, Blackwell has a long history of voter suppression. A 2005 report commissioned by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) found that Blackwell was at fault for “massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio” during the 2004 election. According to the civil rights group Center for New Community (CNC), in 2014 Blackwell was preparing to announce that he would serve as chairman of something called the SOS4SOS PAC. “The PAC — which was created in January for the sole purpose of promoting and establishing voter suppression measures in states — seeks to raise millions of dollars to support the campaigns of incumbent secretaries of state and new candidates in eight states” CNC’s blog Imagine2050, stated in May of that year.