Secretary of State Matt Dunlap displays a security tag that is used on ballot boxes to ensure they aren't tampered with during transport to Augusta for ranked-choice tallying. Credit: Christopher Cousins

A federal judge has ordered President Donald Trump’s administration’s defunct voter fraud commission to surrender its papers and documents to Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, who has been demanding them for months.

Dunlap’s office announced Wednesday that U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled Dunlap is to be given the documents he has requested by July 18. Dunlap has requested all communications between the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s members and other entities.

Dunlap was appointed to the commission in May 2017 and sat on it until it was disbanded in January 2018. Dunlap challenged the commission on several occasions, including in September 2017 when he blasted Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who was vice chairman of the group, for claiming that thousands of illegal votes were cast in New Hampshire in 2016.

In July 2017, Dunlap was among a number of secretaries of state who refused to turn over voters’ names and other personal information requested by the committee, which was an outgrowth of Trump’s campaign mantra that U.S. elections are fraudulent.

Dunlap said he was “walled off” from the work of the commission’s deliberations and filed the suit because the American people “have a right to know how their government officials are working to reshape the future of this nation.”

Dunlap, who is represented in the case by ethics watchdog American Oversight, filed suit in November 2017 after a previous information request was denied. A December 2017 U.S. District Court decision ordered the court to provide the documents, but the administration refused to release the documents after dissolving the commission in January.

Wednesday’s 57-page memorandum opinion denied a series of motions made by both parties in the case but reaffirmed the court’s previous ruling that Dunlap was entitled to the documents then and continues to be now.

Dunlap said Wednesday evening he’s unsure if the decision will be appealed and that he intends to publicly release the documents when he receives them.

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Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.