President Donald Trump's voter fraud commission announced late Monday it's temporarily suspending its collection of voter data from states following a lawsuit by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center had asked for a temporary restraining order in its July 3 suit, saying the commission should have had a plan to protect the data on individual voters before it set about collecting it from the state.
But there's more to the story.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is headed by an attorney named Marc Rotenberg, who previously worked as counsel to super-liberal former Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) And while the organization claims to focus on privacy, it is also recently sued to force the IRS to release Trump's tax returns, information that, unlike in the case of voter records, which are typically given out to any member of the public who requests it, really is confidential.
The organization, like many others that are fighting to stop the release and review of voter roll data, is funded by George Soros through his Open Society Foundations.
The Open Society Foundations have a $940 million budget and a staff of 1,600 with 47 offices in 42 countries. It originally supported post-Soviet countries in their transition to democracy, but now in the U.S. funds the radical Black Lives Matter movement as well as numerous groups that are fighting to prevent the U.S. government from enforcing its immigration laws. And it's now funding efforts to stop a federal review of voter rolls in the U.S.
The ACLU, which also sued the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity this month to try to stop if from collecting voter data, is also partially funded by Soros.
In 2011, the ACLU got $11 million from the Open Society Foundations and was the No. 4 top recipient of Soros money in the U.S. It's suing the commission for failure to hold open meetings and to make its meeting minutes available to the public.
Several other Soros-funded groups have gotten involved as interveners in lawsuits brought by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, which is suing to compel counties and states to maintain their voter rolls and remove ineligible voters.
"Whenever we try to sue, a Soros-funded group jumps in," says Logan Churchwell, the organization's research director and spokesman. "They're working in concert. We know that, because we're fighting them in concert."
PILF is now suing Broward County, Fla., for its failure to remove ineligible voters from its rolls, as is required by the National Voter Registration Act ("Motor Voter"). The local chapter of the Service Employees International Union filed to join the suit as an intervener on the side of the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, with attorneys provided by the Soros-funded groups Project Vote (the now-defunct voter mobilization arm of the former ACORN) and Demos, which has gotten several grants from the Open Society Institute and whose board is chaired by the daughter of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
"There's no question about the ideology this is coming from and what they're trying to do," says Churchwell.
He says millions of dollars are being spent by these groups to try to stop any effort to remove ineligible voters from the rolls and that their goal seems to be to eliminate the idea of voter registration entirely, and to allow anyone to vote.
"Really, that's where they're going with this. If you live here, you get to vote," he says, saying these groups want everyone, including non-citizens, to be able to choose the next president.
"They mean everyone, everyone, everyone," he said.
But Churchwell is optimistic that the commission will prevail and will ultimately get all of the voter data from the states.
"This is not serious," he says of the commission's temporary suspension of efforts to collect the state voter rolls.
"They can do all they want," he says of EPIC and the ACLU. "The reality is that it's a federal commission collecting public information."
The biggest fear of these groups, he says, is that the government is going to study the voter registration system "from an evidence-based approach" - by studying the actual roll of voters.
"I would wager that the average critic of this commission has never actually downloaded and looked at the voter roll," he says. "It's pretty bad when I can flip through a roll and find someone with the last name 'cat' and the first name 'my.'"