Government & Politics

ACLU seeks sanctions against Kobach and public disclosure of Trump documents

From Kansas to Trump's voter commission: Who is Kris Kobach?

President Donald Trump appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to a new commission on May 11, 2017, that will investigate voter fraud and other election issues, according to White House officials. This video includes photos by AP Photo/Car
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President Donald Trump appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to a new commission on May 11, 2017, that will investigate voter fraud and other election issues, according to White House officials. This video includes photos by AP Photo/Car

The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal court to enable documents from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s November meeting with President Donald Trump to be made public.

Kobach earlier this month handed over the documents, which outline a proposed strategic plan for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, under a federal judge’s order. However, he marked the documents as confidential.

The ACLU filed a motion with U.S. District Court of Kansas in Kansas City, Kan. late Monday seeking to remove that designation and enable their contents to be shared with the wider public.

Kobach’s office did not immediately comment on the matter.

The ACLU also asked the court to sanction Kobach for his earlier failure to comply with the discovery process and to reopen discovery to allow Kobach to be deposed to answer questions about the documents. If the court sanctions Kobach, he will face fines.

“Defendant should be sanctioned for a pattern of misrepresentation and a fundamental lack of candor directed at obscuring documents that Defendant wished not to disclose,” the ACLU’s filing states. “Defendant’s misleading conduct has not only unnecessarily prolonged this discovery dispute…it has raised basic questions about the integrity of Defendant’s representations to Plaintiffs and to the Court, and merits sanctions.”

The documents could carry national significance because of Trump’s decision to appoint Kobach as vice chairman to a commission that will study voter fraud.

Kobach, who has championed some of the strictest voting laws in the nation, was photographed walking into a November meeting with Trump carrying a stack of documents that included a reference to voter rolls.

The ACLU sought access to those documents as part of an ongoing voting rights lawsuit challenging a Kansas law that requires voters to provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, when they register to vote.

Kobach was also forced to hand over a draft amendment to the National Voter Registration Act, which he circulated in his office. The ACLU has held off on sharing either document with news organization until the court removes the confidential designation.

Bryan Lowry: 816-234-4077, @BryanLowry3

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