The Republican National Committee might have to pay the price for Donald Trump’s inflammatory statements about election rigging.
The Democratic National Committee on Thursday asked a judge to punish the RNC with an unspecified financial sanction for violating an anti-voter intimidation agreement. The agreement came about after a 1981 gubernatorial race in New Jersey, during which the RNC allegedly engaged in a wide variety of voter suppression tactics. According to court records, the RNC was accused of the following:
The RNC allegedly created a voter challenge list by mailing sample ballots to individuals in precincts with a high percentage of racial or ethnic minority registered voters and, then, including individuals whose postcards were returned as undeliverable on a list of voters to challenge at the polls. The RNC also allegedly enlisted the help of off-duty sheriffs and police officers to intimidate voters by standing at polling places in minority precincts during voting with “National Ballot Security Task Force” armbands. Some of the officers allegedly wore firearms in a visible manner.
Although the Republican candidate Tom Kean would go on to win, after the election the RNC became severely restricted in how it can monitor polling sites during elections.
For months, the Republican nominee has been telling his supporters that the election could be stolen in specific areas known to have sizeable populations of minority voters and asked for supporters to volunteer as election observers. And, like in the New Jersey case, Trump has called on law enforcement to secure the sanctity of the franchise. Trump isn’t bound by the consent decree, Vox’s Dara Lind reports. However, the RNC could be in trouble if it’s determined that they’re supporting the candidate’s election monitoring efforts.
As a result, the DNC has asked a court to block any avenues the RNC has to financially support Trump’s election watching efforts. They’ve also asked that the RNC request reimbursements for any financial support for those efforts they may have already sent.
The consent decree regarding voter monitoring tactics is set to expire in Dec. 2017, but could be extended for another eight years given the lawsuit from the DNC, according to Talking Points Memo.
RNC officials argue that they haven’t done anything wrong or coordinated with Donald Trump, calling the lawsuit “completely meritless.”
The possibility of voter fraud has been a recurring theme of this election. Members of the RNC have previously voiced concern about the prospect of dead people voting and said that Republican attorneys would be monitoring polling sites around the country. However, the severity of voter fraud in American elections is disputable. A 2014 study by a constitutional law expert at Loyola University found ony 31 credible allegations of voter fraud since the 2000 election.
ATTN: has reached out to the RNC for comment and will update the story if we receive a reply.