On Tuesday, Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-5) led a letter to Attorney General Garland regarding the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) plan to enact Executive Order (EO) 14019 to “promote voter registration and voter participation.”
As first reported by the Epoch Times on Tuesday, Rep. Norman’s letter demands the DOJ publicly disclose its plans and documents indicating how it intends to carry out EO 14019, as ordered by a federal judge. This letter was co-signed by Reps. Randy Weber, Mary Miller, Fred Keller, Bill Posey, Chip Roy, Louis Gohmert, Andy Biggs, and Ben Cline.
On March 7, 2021, President Biden signed EO 14019 “Promoting Access to Voting,” which directed the heads of federal agencies to submit a comprehensive plan to promote voter participation. President Biden states in this EO that the federal government will expand access to voter registration and will “combat misinformation” that affects public voting participation.
The Foundation for Government Accountability sought a copy of the DOJ’s plan to implement this order through a Freedom of Information Act request. The DOJ stonewalled for over 200 days before a federal judge finally ordered the Department to disclose this information. To date, however, the DOJ has not fully complied with that court order.
Through the Elections Clause of the Constitution, the responsibility of election matters rest upon the state legislatures. There is no provision in the U.S. Constitution that allows the President to utilize federal agencies — led by his political appointees — as voter registration organizations. Furthermore, federal employees carrying out this EO could be in violation of the Hatch Act and other laws which are meant to keep federal agencies from engaging in political activities to benefit one political party over another.
Rep. Norman issued the following statement on Tuesday: “The DOJ’s reputation with public trust is already minimal at best. What could the DOJ have to gain from hiding their plan to promote voter participation from the public? American voters have a right to know what the DOJ’s planned role is in our election. The federal government should abide by the Hatch Act and keep their hands out of our election process.”
In response to the congressional letter, the Foundation for Government Accountability’s Senior Director of Federal Affairs, Robin Walker, said, “Rep. Norman and his colleagues are asking vital questions that every American deserves answers to—and before Election Day. We applaud their efforts to hold DOJ accountable and expose the lack of transparency surrounding the President’s plan to influence elections.”