The Trump White House has published the personal information of some of its critics, including the names, addresses, and phone numbers of people who have vocally opposed one of the administration’s core efforts.
As CNBC reports, the Trump administration has recently published a 112-page document (which you can read for yourself here, via Scribd) that contains comments made by members of the general public, concerning their thoughts on the administration’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Within that document are the names, email addresses, and sometimes even telephone numbers and home addresses of some of the commenters.
543 ********* Ln
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
“The federal government is attempting to get the name, address, birth date, political party, and social security [sic] number of every voter in the country.”
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, led by Vice-President Mike Pence, is, depending on whom you ask, either a sincere attempt to get to the bottom of real election fraud in the 2016 election; or a weak attempt by the Trump administration to “prove” there was voter fraud where little or none existed.
One of the first things the Commission did was send a notice to the Governors of all 50 states, requesting “sensitive” information about the voters. Specifically, it requested the “full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four numbers of Social Security number,” and so on.
The request was met with a resounding rejection from most Governors, many of whom are Republicans, like Trump and Pence. In fact, 45 Governors in all refused to participate, including Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas.
“The request is simply too broad and includes sensitive information of Arkansas voters.”
The Commission also solicited information from the general public. That was a mistake; of the dozens of comments received from the general public, the overwhelming majority of them were harshly critical, to put it mildly.
solbongla: “you [sic] are all about voter suppression to rig elections. you [sic] are evil. pray [sic] there is no hell.”
CB: “Just f**k off already you s**t-stain on democracy.”
To be fair, commenters who submitted their thoughts to the Commission were warned, explicitly, that the Commission might publish the information that they gave.
“Please note that the Commission may post such written comments publicly on our website, including names and contact information that are submitted.”
And in fact, those comments have, indeed, been published by the Commission on its website; you can view them here, via Whitehouse.gov.
So was the White House acting legally when it posted the personal information of some of its critics? Former Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, speaking to Engadget, isn’t convinced. But he definitely believes the administration is definitely in the wrong morally.
“Whether or not it’s legal to disclose this personal information, it’s clearly improper, and no responsible White House would do this.”
As of this writing, the White House has not responded to requests for comment on this issue.
Do you believe it was wrong of the Trump White House to publish the general public’s comments without redacting commenters’ personal information? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]