House committee subpoenas 15 Biden Cabinet secretaries to hand over documents on voter mobilization ‘scheme’

Gun Rights

FIRST ON FOX: A House committee is issuing subpoenas to 15 executive agencies in the Biden administration related to constitutional concerns with one of Biden’s executive orders and the departments’ implementation. 

In March 2021, Biden signed Promoting Access to Voting, which states that “executive departments and agencies should partner with State, local, Tribal, and territorial election officials to protect and promote the exercise of the right to vote, eliminate discrimination and other barriers to voting, and expand access to voter registration and accurate election information.”

The plan has already come under scrutiny from Senate Republicans, who have called it a federal “voter mobilization” effort with “potentially partisan impacts.”

Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., chairman of the Committee on House Administration, is subpoenaing Biden’s 15 cabinet secretaries for their detailed plans for carrying out the order just five months out from the November election. 

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BRYAN Steil

Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., in the U.S. Capitol Oct. 3, 2023.  (Getty Images)

“The Committee has concerns about the implementation of E.O. 14019, particularly regarding its compatibility with provisions of the National Voter Registration Act (NRA) of 1993,” Steil told the agencies in a subpoena letter. 

“Congress delegates to federal agencies specific functions and missions, which by law they are required to follow. Congress’s delegation of authority to HUD does not include using funds and resources to provide Americans with voter registration materials,” he said.

“Moreover, E.O. 14019 requires every federal agency to submit a strategic plan outlining how the agency can promote voter registration and voter participation.  

“Over the last few months, some agencies have taken actions that were likely outlined in their strategic plans. Examples include the Department of Education’s new federal work-study requirements, and the Small Business Administration’s entrance into a voter registration agreement with Michigan,” Steil explained. 

“Both of those actions and the actions of other agencies raise substantial questions and concerns, some of which may be answered by access to the strategic plans drafted by the agencies.” 

Steil added that the committee is considering legislation that would repeal E.O. 14019 and require the agencies’ strategic plan to be submitted to Congress. 

“As the Committee continues to investigate this issue, the strategic plans and other documents requested will inform the Committee on what additional legislation, if any, needs to be considered to clarify that the NRA does not enable executive branch agencies to focus on voter registration,” he wrote. 

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Rep. Bryan Steil, voting booth split image

House Administration Committee Chairman Rep. Bryan Steil (Getty Images)

Included in the subpoena list are the Department of Commerce, Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Justice Department, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Department of Interior, Department of Labor, Office of Management and Budget, Department of State, Department of Transportation, Treasury Department and the Department of Agriculture. 

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Steil called the executive order a “scheme” to carry out “partisan activities” for which Congress did not appropriate funds.

“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. 

“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.”

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In November, top Republican senators pushed the Biden administration for answers about its “voter mobilization” efforts and said they were stonewalled by the White House for months. 

Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., sent a letter with 23 senators, co-signed by top leadership, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., admonishing President Biden for his administration’s “failure to respond” to their inquires about the executive order on Promoting Access to Voting.

“This policy directive merits congressional oversight both as a general matter and under the Antideficiency Act,” the lawmakers wrote, reiterating their request for how federal agencies planned to carry out the executive order, including a request for copies of their plans submitted to the White House. 

Biden gives gun safety remarks

President Biden speaks to Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund’s Gun Sense University at the Washington Hilton June 11, 2024, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In April, a lawsuit challenging the executive order alleged it targeted key demographics to benefit the president’s political party and his own re-election.

Tarren Bragdon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, which filed an amicus brief in a case now pending before the Supreme Court, said “it’s no wonder Team Biden is using their authority and resources to target welfare populations with a federally funded get-out-the-vote effort.

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“If they are allowed to fully execute their plan, it could swing the election outcome.” 

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