Voting booths are illuminated by sunlight as voters cast their ballots at a polling place on Nov. 6, 2012.
Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP

Member of Trump’s voting commission settles embarrassing lawsuit

Around this point two years ago, Donald Trump was very excited about his ridiculous “voter integrity” commission, which existed because of the president’s mistaken belief that illegal ballots caused him to lose the popular vote. Every time the president would appoint a new member to his panel, the commission grew a little more discouraging.

This was especially true when the White House tapped J. Christian Adams, a veteran of the Justice Department’s voting section during the Bush/Cheney era, to join the effort.

As regular readers may recall, Adams first rose to public prominence as the “chief agitator” behind the absurd New Black Panther Party story – alleging two black men with braids in their beards were intimidating white people while loitering outside a Philadelphia voting precinct in 2008.

In the years that followed, Adams began “pushing restrictive elections laws and voter purges across the country.” He also helped lead an organization that published a couple of “Alien Invasion” reports, purporting to show “aliens who registered to vote illegally” in Virginia.

As TPM reported the other day, that didn’t work out too well.

A former Trump voter fraud commissioner will apologize to citizens he wrongly described as noncitizens in reports claiming mass voter fraud in Virginia, according to a tentative settlement agreement reached this week in a lawsuit brought against the commissioner.

J. Christian Adams and his group the Public Interest Legal Foundation were sued last year over the “Aliens Invasion” reports they released in 2016 and 2017. The reports – which included names, phone numbers, addresses and Social Security numbers of individuals removed from voter rolls allegedly because they were noncitizens – amounted to defamation and voter intimidation, the lawsuit alleged.

As part of the agreement, Adams’ group will reportedly have to publish a statement in front of its old reports that reads, “PILF recognizes that individuals in [the removed exhibits] were in fact citizens and that these citizens did not commit felonies. PILF profoundly regrets any characterization of those registrants as felons or instances of registration or voting as felonies.”

On July 19, 2017 – almost exactly two years ago – Donald Trump praised Adams’ Public Interest Legal Foundation as a “great group.”

Whether the president still believes that is unclear.