Aug 19, 2019

Federal Election Commission chair rebukes Trump's 2016 voter fraud claims

Ellen Weintraub, the chair of the Federal Election Commission, said on CNN Monday that "there is no evidence of rampant voter fraud in 2016 or really in any previous election," despite President Trump's claims.

Why it matters: Weintraub stressed such statements from the president can cause "people to lose faith" and "to question the results."

Driving the news: During a rally in New Hampshire last week, Trump claimed he would have won the state in the 2016 if it weren't for voter fraud.

  • Weintraub sent a letter to Trump on Friday and asked the president "to provide any evidence" that could prove those statements. "To put it in terms a former casino operator should understand: There comes a time when you need to lay your cards on the table or fold," she wrote.
  • She told CNN that the White House has yet to respond.
The exchange:
WEINTRAUB: "Facts matter. And people of America need to be able to believe what their leaders tell them." ...
CNN'S JOHN BERMAN: "Has the White House ever — and I mean including the commission chaired by Mike Pence — produced any evidence and handed over to you, the Federal Election Commission, of fraud in New Hampshire or California or other places in 2016?"
WEINTRAUB: "No. I'm not aware of them handing any evidence over to the local law enforcement authorities who would have jurisdiction over what happened in their own states. In fact, I've heard from folks at the state and local level who were offended by this. They thought it was insulting to the way they ran their elections in each and every state to suggest that they would allow this kind of rampant voter fraud to go on. ... To put out information that has no proof, has no evidence behind it, ... it's damaging to our democracy."
BERMAN: "How?"
WEINTRAUB: "It causes people to lose faith. It causes people to question the results. We have some threats to our democracy right now. ... To be suggesting to people that if the candidate that they don't like — if the candidate they choose doesn't win, that it's because of fraud, that undermines our democracy. It undermines people's faith. Once that faith is broken, it is very hard to build up again."

Go deeper: Trump cites misleading Texas statistics in voter fraud claim

Go deeper

Insurers often shrug off fraud

Fighting fraud "is not a top priority" for major insurers, ProPublica reports, because they can just pass along the cost of wasteful spending to enrollees and employers.

Why it matters: Experts say fraud likely accounts for 10% of U.S. health costs. However, "private health insurers, who preside over some $1.2 trillion in spending each year, exhibit a puzzling lack of ambition when it comes to bringing fraudsters to justice," ProPublica's Marshall Allen writes.

Go deeperArrowSep 11, 2019

Federal Election Commission effectively shuts down after key resignation

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call

Following the resignation of vice chairman Matthew Petersen on Monday, the Federal Election Commission will be forced to virtually shut down due to a rule requiring a minimum of 4 commissioners to make high-level decisions, per the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).

Why it matters: The FEC is responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws. As the 2020 elections continue to ramp up, the commission's power to keep candidates accountable could be hindered by its inability to issue fines, make rules, conduct and approve audits, and vote on the outcome of investigations.

Go deeperArrowAug 26, 2019

Dime-a-dozen ransomware attacks could mess with elections

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State and city election boards have spent the better part of 3 years hardening their systems for a 2020 hacker invasion. Yet all that work may not be enough to keep out ransomware.

Driving the news: On Monday, Reuters was first to report that the Department of Homeland Security would begin helping elections officials prepare for ransomware attacks.

Go deeperArrowAug 29, 2019