Biden’s Order Puts Bureaucrats’ ‘Thumb on the Scale’ in Elections, House GOP Warns

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House Republicans are calling out President Joe Biden’s push, under an executive order, to field federal employees to vote, register voters, and serve as poll workers during elections. 

“Biden’s EO is another attempt for this administration to put a thumb on the scale and expand its overreach in our elections,” Rep. Bryan Steil, chairman of the House Administration Committee, told The Daily Signal. 

As we reported here…

from The Daily Signal, The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project obtained records showing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management had directed federal agencies to grant up to four hours of paid administrative leave for voting and acting as poll watchers. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

The documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, also show that the Farm Credit Administration sought to clarify what kind of activity violates the Hatch Act, a law that prohibits political activity by federal employees on the federal government’s property and time. 

In December, the House Administration Committee advanced legislation to repeal Biden’s Executive Order 14019, which put federal agencies behind a goal of driving up voter participation and partnering with nonprofit organizations to do so. 

The No Vote for Non-Citizens Act was reported out of committee on a bipartisan vote of 8-2. The bill would amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, better known as “the Motor Voter law,” and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to ensure that only eligible American citizens may participate in federal elections. 

“Every eligible American has the opportunity to vote and can do so without federal agencies having taxpayer-paid federal employees flooding election administration sites,” Steil, R-Wis., told The Daily Signal. 

Congress can’t permit the Biden administration to tamper with the nation’s electoral process, said Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., who sponsored legislation to repeal Biden’s executive order on getting out the vote. 

“Biden and his bureaucrats continue violating our Constitution on a daily basis while screeching about Republicans being a threat to democracy,” Hageman told The Daily Signal. 

“Although the information uncovered by this FOIA request only relates to time off to vote or poll watch, the potential for abuse exists. It also begs the question of what else is being done to sway elections that hasn’t been discovered yet?” Hageman added. 

The OPM memo from March 2022 says: 

Agencies should also allow employees to use up to 4 hours of administrative leave per leave year to serve as a non-partisan poll worker or to participate in non-partisan observer activities at the federal, state, local (i.e., county and municipal), tribal, and territorial level. … This leave is in addition to any administrative leave an employee uses to vote.

Campaign finance data shows that federal employees and organizations representing those employees give overwhelmingly to Democrat candidates. 

“Once again, the Biden administration is unconstitutionally usurping authority to push bad policy designed to support their political agenda,” Hageman told The Daily Signal. “In no way does the executive branch of the federal government have jurisdiction over elections—they are the constitutional responsibility of the states. To the extent the [Constitution’s] elections clause contains a federal fail-safe, it is Congress to whom the Constitution delegates that power, not the president. The president’s constitutional role is limited to enforcing legislation enacted by Congress.”

The Daily Signal first reported in June that, under Biden’s executive order, federal agencies partnered with transparently left-leaning organizations such as Demos and the American Civil Liberties Union to drive up voting.

Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., sponsored legislation to block federal funds for partnering with private nonprofit organizations. Tenney called OPM’s policy regarding federal employees and voting “another example of Democrats interfering in state election policy and pushing for nationalization of our elections.” 

“As co-chair of the Election Integrity Caucus and House sponsor of the Promoting Free and Fair Elections Act, which works to repeal EO 14019, I remain dedicated to preventing the Biden administration’s politicization of the federal bureaucracy and protecting our sacred right to vote,” Tenney told The Daily Signal.

But House Republicans continue to pass budgets that fund implementation of the Biden executive order to mobilize voting, said Mike Howell, director of the Heritage Oversight Project, which obtained the documents from the Farm Credit Administration and the Office of Personnel Management.

“The federal takeover via EO 14019 may be one of the most obvious right now,” Howell told The Daily Signal. “I have no idea why at every turn House Republicans continue to fund their own demise, but that’s where we are at. I’m not sure how Americans can be asked to trust the outcome of this election.” 

Reached for comment this week, an OPM spokesperson referred The Daily Signal to a March 2022 statement from OPM Director Kiran Ahuja about implementing Biden’s executive order. 

“The functioning of our democracy and protecting the right to vote are core American ideals,” Ahuja said at the time. “Today’s guidance advances fundamental goals of the Biden-Harris administration: to promote democracy, reduce barriers to voting for federal employees, and further position the federal government as a model employer for other employers to follow. OPM is proud to help lead this effort.” 

During the Biden administration, federal agencies largely have shielded information on how the administration has put the machinery of government behind encouraging voter registration and voting, ignoring inquiries from over 50 members of Congress and from media outlets for basic information about implementation of Biden’s order. 

Most recently, 22 other Republican senators signed on to a letter to Biden led by Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., asking whether tax dollars are being devoted to electioneering. 

“This policy directive merits congressional oversight both as a general matter and under the Antideficiency Act,” the Nov. 28 letter says. “Accordingly, we write to reiterate our request for information regarding the implementation of this executive order, including copies of the plans submitted to the White House.”

The letter from Hagerty and 22 other GOP senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, continues: “Federal agencies should be focused on their defined missions in a nonpartisan manner, not using taxpayer funds for voter mobilization efforts with potentially partisan impacts. In other words, it’s not the job of the federal government to drive voter turnout.”

Biden’s Justice Department also has refused to release its strategic plan for implementing Biden’s executive order on voting, citing “presidential privilege.” 

Records obtained by The Daily Signal in November show direct planning and coordination took place between the White House and the General Services Administration, the chief federal procurement agency, to turn out the vote. 

And, based on records, The Daily Signal first reported in 2022 that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is engaging in mass collection of voter registration forms by local public housing officials. 

The Justice Department announced guidance for states to increase awareness of voting rights for convicted criminals, in compliance with Biden’s order. 

The Department of Homeland Security said it is focused on voter registration “at the end of naturalization ceremonies for the hundreds of thousands of citizens naturalized each year.” 

The Education Department said it would focus on “increasing civic engagement at the elementary school, secondary school, and higher education level, helping more than 67 million students.”

Fred Lucas is chief news correspondent and manager of the Investigative Reporting Project for The Daily Signal. Reproduced with permission. Original here.