DAVID DUNN: Arkansas overseer of election integrity.

The New York Times today previews a meeting in Washington today of Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, the outfit led by vote suppressor Kris Kobach of Kansas that faces multiple lawsuits for its unprecedented grab for personal voter information.

As one person observed in the article: Claiming a bipartisan spirit is hard to square with gathering information on which voters are Republicans and which are Democrats.


The Times notes the shady background of some commission members: A vote purger from Indiana, a Republican operative long an architect of laws to restrict voting, the former Ohio secretary of state who was, at a minimum, inept at voting supervision if not corrupt, as some believe.

No mention of Arkansas’s representative on the commission, lobbyist David Dunn, a former state legislator. He has refused comment to me about his work. We know he owes his position to Secretary of State Mark Martin, a friend of Kobach, and that’s not a reference I’d put on a political resume. Perhaps he’ll emerge as a voice in the wilderness. He could start by saying it didn’t look good for Arkansas to be the ONLY state to turn over massive data files to the commission while lawsuits were underway. The information included birthdates, addresses, telephone numbers, and primary voting history of 1.7 million people. Martin claims the commission has said the information has been deleted from a Defense Department server to which Martin transmitted the data.


Think Progress details the commission membership here, nominally four Republicans and four Democrats (which Dunn was as a legislator.) Its thumbnail description for Dunn was kinder than those for many others.

Dunn served in the Arkansas state legislature from 2005 to 2011 and now works at a government-relations firm he founded. A southern Democrat, Dunn told ThinkProgress that he has seen no evidence of vote fraud in his state, so he’s unlikely to agree with Pence or Kobach. “I made it clear that if they want a yes person, I’m probably not the person they want to chose,” he said. “I don’t want to be part of any kind of propaganda. I’m not on a witch hunt.” He joined the commission because he said he thought it was important for Democrats to have seats at the table and to encourage the panel to look into other issues, like voter suppression. “If you’re not at the table, you’re probably going to be on the menu.”

Dunn told ThinkProgress that he is friendly with the secretary of state, who recommended him for the commission, but he did not know he was selected until the press release went out to the public. “It caught me by surprise,” he said laughing. He also said in late June that he had no idea what topics the commission was planning to investigate.

As luck would have it, a statement just arrived on the topic.


Trevor Potter, president of Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and a former Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), released the following statement on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which has its first meeting scheduled today:

“Our elections face serious concerns including attempted foreign cyber intrusions, partisan motivated voter suppression, and the desperate need for modernization of our election administration and voting technology. Voters should demand a true bipartisan effort to tackle these problems.

Rather than address these pressing issues in a bipartisan manner, this presidential commission already seems to be blindly focused on manufacturing evidence to support its own foregone conclusions to further partisan objectives. This commission has no meaningful bipartisan credentials and its purpose is based on false charges of voter fraud that have already been repeatedly disproven. Sadly, the work of this commission promises only to further undermine and erode faith in our electoral process.

In the past two decades, there have been several truly bipartisan commissions that have produced reputable reports on how to improve our elections. If this commission wanted to investigate current problems facing U.S. elections, it could continue that work and explore ways to improve election administration, including the cybersecurity of our election systems and the growing need for better election infrastructure. Instead, this commission is focused on a misguided effort to advance one party’s political goals. The bipartisan work to improve our elections will continue but this commission is not a part of it.”