Biden Admin Officials Subpoenaed in House GOP Probe Over Potential Electioneering in Key Swing State

Biden Admin Officials Subpoenaed in House GOP Probe Over Potential Electioneering in Key Swing State
A voter fills out a registration form at the Minneapolis Early Vote Center in Minneapolis on Jan. 17, 2020. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

A GOP-led House committee has issued subpoenas to two Biden administration officials amid allegations that the executive branch agency they work for is funneling taxpayer resources to the key battleground state of Michigan to help President Joe Biden win reelection.

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, issued a pair of subpoenas on May 7 to Tyler Robinson, special adviser to the Small Business Administration (SBA), and Arthur Plews, chief of staff to the SBA. The Republican lawmaker said the move was necessary due to the SBA’s refusal to comply with the committee’s investigation into the agency’s potential electioneering activities on behalf of the president.

“The Biden Administration is spending taxpayer dollars to help him win a battleground state in November,” the House Committee on Small Business said in a May 7 statement.

“This is a complete abuse of taxpayer dollars,” the committee continued, adding that it is “fighting to put an end to these blatantly political acts.”

The committee is investigating the circumstances of a first-of-its-kind voter registration agreement that the SBA entered into with the Michigan Department of State in March, which the committee fears may be calibrated to benefit Democrats over Republicans.

The agreement, officially referred to as a memorandum of understanding, involves Michigan officials collaborating with the SBA to drive online visitors to register to vote. It also lets Michigan officials to use the SBA’s Michigan field office to carry out in-person voter registration at the SBA’s small business outreach events.

Looming large in the background is President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14019, which states, “The head of each agency shall evaluate ways in which the agency can, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, promote voter registration and voter participation.”

Various government agencies—including the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture, to name just a few—are carrying out campaigns to sign up new voters.

More Details

Besides the memorandum of understanding with Michigan, the SBA will also encourage voter registration nationwide. This is being done by including voter registration information in the SBA’s marketing materials to the business community, as well as on the SBA’s website, social media channels, and through signage at the agency’s offices and events across the country.

Mr. Williams, the chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, said in a statement that the SBA’s sole mission is to help America’s businesses grow and thrive but instead it has “repeatedly strayed from that mission to pursue outside political objectives.”

As part of its investigation into whether the SBA is involved in partisan electioneering activities, the committee has sought to interview SBA staff, but to no avail.

“The fact that we are having to issue subpoenas to speak with SBA officials is extremely disappointing,” Mr. Williams said in a statement, adding that the committee has given the two SBA staffers ample opportunity to speak with it voluntarily.

Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Penn.), a member of the committee, said in a statement that he believes the SBA’s agreement with the Michigan Department of State is a “blatant attempt by the Biden Administration to illegally use the SBA as an extension of the President’s campaign.”

Mr. Meuser added that he suspects similar efforts are underway in other states and that the subpoenas will help the committee get to the bottom of the scope and depth of this “illegal electioneering.”

The SBA did not respond to a request for comment.

‘Targeted Voter Registration’

President Biden signed Executive Order 14019 Promoting Access to Voting on March 7, 2021.

The executive order directs federal agencies to find “ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote.” While on the surface it sounds innocuous, some experts believe that the effort unleashed by the executive order benefits Democrats over Republicans.

“They’re targeting welfare agencies that serve predominantly left-leaning voters,” Stewart Whitson, legal director of the Foundation for Government Accountability, told The Epoch Times in an earlier interview. “It’s targeted voter registration, so you don’t have to worry about turning out more Republican voters if you focus your efforts in places where the vast majority of voters are going to lean left.”

A report by a coalition of progressive groups details their assessment of how well 10 federal agencies are doing in implementing the executive order and where they can do better.

Some of the report’s recommendations include urging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to sign up new voters in applications for health insurance under Obamacare.

The report also encourages the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to include voter registration for veterans who sign up for VA health benefits and suggests that the Education Department should include voter registration when students apply for federal student aid.

Also, the Bureau of Prisons should work to register eligible convicts, per the recommendations of the report, which praised the Treasury Department for targeting voter registration efforts at “low income clients of its voluntary tex preparation clinics.”

Another dimension of concern is that federal agencies are partnering with private groups to sign up voters on federal agency premises.

“They’re essentially taking third-party groups and they’re bringing them onto federal land, into a federal office, and who knows what they’re doing,” Mr. Whitson said.

“Who knows if they’re following state laws governing voter registration and the collection of applications?” he continued, adding that the Biden administration has refused to disclose which private groups will partner with federal agencies, with a lack of transparency around the criteria for selection of these private groups or who decides which ones to work with.

According to the report, groups that back the executive order-fueled voter registration thrust include the American Civil Liberties Union, teachers unions, public employee unions, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Black Voters Matter Fund, Public Citizen, Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters, and the Sierra Club.

Kevin Stocklin contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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