Trump names former FEC member to voter fraud probe

Trump names former FEC member to voter fraud probe
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President Trump on Thursday named a former member of the Federal Election Commission to his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. 

Hans von Spakovsky, a member of the FEC nominated by former President George W. Bush, will join the presidential commission to investigate instances of voter fraud during the 2016 presidential election.

Spakovsky, who runs the Election Law Reform Initiative at the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, was the only appointee who was named but not described in a White House press release Thursday night.

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Spakovsky is also a former Justice Department official and a top critic of Eric HolderEric H. HolderHolder: Sessions is ‘racially insensitive’ and ‘racially unaware’ Let's start giving media manipulation the attention it deserves Hannity slams Maddow, Megyn Kelly: 'Are you proud of that reporting?' MORE, a former attorney general in the Obama administration. In 2014, he wrote a book titled "Obama's Enforcer: Eric Holder's Justice Department."

He is quoted on Heritage's website in support of voter ID laws, calling the measures "vital" for upholding election integrity.

“In an era of razor-thin election margins, these issues are vital to the preservation of our republican form of government and the rule of law,” Spakovsky says on the website.

Von Spakovsky has been an ardent proponent of toughening voting laws for years, asserting the potential for massive voter fraud. But his push has drawn significant criticism from Democrats over the years, who have accused him of pushing measures that restrict voting rights.  

He received a recess appointment to the FEC in 2006 but ultimately withdrew from the formal nominating process in 2008 amid vocal opposition from Democrats. 
 
Trump established the voter fraud commission after making unsubstantiated claims that "millions" of illegal voters took part in the presidential election. The White House set up the group in May by executive order.
 
When The Hill reached out to the Trump transition team in November to ask for information backing up Trump's claim that he would have "won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally," a transition official sent The Hill a document that cited Von Spakovsky's research, among others. 

On Wednesday, Vice President Pence, who chairs the committee, held the first organizational call and announced the commission's first meeting in July.

"The integrity of the vote is a foundation of our democracy," Pence said Wednesday, according to a White House press release. "This bipartisan commission will review ways to strengthen that integrity in order to protect and preserve the principle of one person, one vote."

Ben Kamisar contributed to this story.