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Biden admin’s secret voter turnout ‘scheme’ questioned by House GOP

President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 8, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
June 14, 2024

House Republicans subpoenaed 15 of President Joe Biden’s cabinet secretaries this week over concerns about the legality of an executive order he signed to involve the federal government in voter turnout efforts.

The subpoenas, brought by Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Committee on Administration, are addressed to:

  1. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, 
  2. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, 
  3. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, 
  4. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, 
  5. State Secretary Antony Blinken, 
  6. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, 
  7. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, 
  8. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm,
  9. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona,
  10. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin,
  11. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo,
  12. Attorney General Merrick Garland,
  13. Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young,
  14. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Adrianne Todman, and
  15. Labor Secretary Julie Su.

The particular executive order, No. 14019, which Biden announced in March of 2021, entails executive branch agencies and departments allocating some of their resources and office space for voter registration efforts. The effort could entail partnerships with private third-party organizations as part of this get-out-the-vote effort.

While the executive order describes federal partnerships with “nonpartisan” voter turnout organizations, conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation have questioned how much right-of-center representation there is within these third-party organizations. 

“The implementation of E.O. 14019 has raised concerns of partisan bias, with evidence suggesting alignment with far left-leaning think tanks and NGOs funded by dark money,” the Heritage Foundation wrote last month.

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The conservative public policy think-tank also questioned Biden’s assertion of Presidential Communications Privilege over planning documents detailing how executive branch departments and agencies will carry out his order.

“Elections are partisan, but our election administration should never be partisan. Allowing federal employees from the Biden Administration to flood election administration sites threatens election integrity and reduces Americans’ confidence,” Steil said Wednesday as he announced the subpoenas. “This Executive Order is another attempt by the Biden Administration to tilt the scales ahead of 2024. I will continue working to provide transparency and accountability on this Administration’s latest scheme as Congress did not appropriate taxpayer funds for partisan activities.”

The subpoena cover letters state that Congress has not delegated authority to the various executive branch departments to use “funds and resources to provide Americans with voter registration materials.”

Each department leader was informed they have until June 26 to turn over records relating to the voter turnout executive order.