House Panel Subpoenas Biden Cabinet on Electioneering Executive Order

The House committee with oversight of elections is subpoenaing 15 members of the Biden administration’s Cabinet regarding the implementation of the president’s executive order to use federal agencies to partner with left-leaning groups for get-out-the-vote purposes in 2024.

The House Administration Committee is investigating President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14919, signed in March 2021, that requires federal agencies to partner with private interests to boost voter participation. The committee previously advanced legislation to block funding of the order.

“Elections are partisan, but our election administration should never be partisan,” House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil, R-Wis., said in a public statement. “Allowing federal employees from the Biden administration to flood election administration sites threatens election integrity and reduces Americans’ confidence.”

The Biden administration has been secretive about the implementation of the plan. Critics of the order have called it “Bidenbucks.”

Records obtained by The Daily Signal and watchdog groups show the private actors partnering with agencies, or communicating with Biden White House officials, on the order have been left-leaning groups such as Demos and the American Civil Liberties Union, the Brennan Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, leftist billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and the Stacey Abrams-founded Fair Fight Action.

Republicans objected, noting this could prompt federal employees to violate the Hatch Act , a law that prevents partisan political activity using federal time or resources, as well as violate the Antideficiency Act , wherein federal agencies cannot spend public money on matters not authorized by Congress. 

“This Executive Order is another attempt by the Biden Administration to tilt the scales ahead of 2024,” Steil continued. “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.”

Biden administration officials have argued the executive order is about promoting voter accessibility and ensuring that voting is easier.

The House Committee on Small Business has been investigating the Small Business Administration’s efforts to register voters, and held a hearing on June 5. 

“During a time when small businesses are struggling, the SBA has decided to focus efforts not on inflation or access to capital, but instead to register voters in a swing state,” House Small Business Committee Chairman Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, said in a public statement . “This is completely unacceptable.” 

In March, the SBA announced a Memorandum of Understanding with the Michigan Department of State, the chief election agency for the battleground state, to facilitate voter registration efforts ahead of the 2024 election cycle. 

The Biden administration has shown a lack of transparency on the order, Stewart Whitson, senior director of federal affairs for the conservative watchdog group Foundation for Government Accountability, told the House panel last week. 

“If this was aboveboard, if it was everything the other side claims it is, wouldn’t you be shouting from the hills the details of this plan?” Whitson told the House Small Business Committee. “Wouldn’t you be proud to go on and say exactly what SBA is doing and where it’s doing [it] and how it’s doing it, if it were aboveboard? And so, the lack of transparency is a huge problem. It was a problem from Day One. The order came out in 2021.”

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‘No Alternative But to Sue.’ ACLU Takes Action Against Biden’s Southern Border Order

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Biden administration over a recent executive order that aims to limit the number of illegal aliens that cross the southern border daily. 

President Joe Biden ’s executive order, which he signed June 4,  gives him the authority to close the border when the seven-day average of daily border crossings between ports of entry exceeds 2,500. The border will only reopen if crossings between ports fall to a seven-day daily average of 1,500 or less. 

Pro-immigration groups were quick to criticize the order, saying Biden’s actions would restrict asylum claims. 

“We were left with no alternative but to sue,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement Wednesday.

“The administration lacks unilateral authority to override Congress and bar asylum based on how one enters the country, a point the courts made crystal clear when the Trump administration unsuccessfully tried a near-identical ban,” Gelernt said. 

In 2018, former President Donald Trump sought to restrict the asylum claims of migrants who crossed the border illegally, but the move was blocked in federal court. 

The National Immigrant Justice Center, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, Jenner and Block LLP, ACLU of the District of Columbia, and Texas Civil Rights Project also signed onto the federal lawsuit.

The ACLU, a left of center legal defense organization, filed the suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. on behalf of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, according to an ACLU press release

The Biden administration was aware of the likelihood of legal challenges to the executive order before is was signed. In his proclamation discussing the order, Biden said he was taking the action on the border because of “Congress’s failure to deliver meaningful policy reforms and adequate funding, despite repeated requests that they do so.” 

A Senate border bill , which was touted as “bipartisan” and backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., failed in February and again in May as Republicans said the bill would do more harm than good at the southern border by still allowing 4,000 illegal aliens to enter the country daily. 

In May 2023, the GOP-led House passed HR 2 , a border security bill that would restart border wall construction, end catch and release, and reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy. The Senate has yet to take up the bill. 

Republicans and border security advocates have been critical of Biden’s action on the border, which Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called a “political play,” and House Speaker Mike Johnson labeled as “window dressing.”

During a press conference Tuesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., called Biden’s executive order on the border “window dressing,” adding that if Biden “was concerned about the border, he would have done this a long time ago.”

It has been less than two weeks since Biden signed the border executive order and Fox News border correspondent Bill Melugin reports it is too soon to draw conclusions about the order’s influence on the number of daily crossings. But on Tuesday, Melugin reported that “the numbers are mildly and slowly moving down.” 

In the San Diego Sector of the southern border specifically, Melugin said he learned from Customs and Border Protection sources that there “were roughly 3,070 illegal crossings [Monday], a drop from the May daily average of about 3,800.” 

CBP has encountered more than 1.5 million illegal aliens at the southern border since the start of fiscal year 2024 on Oct. 1, placing the daily average number of encounters at and between ports of entry along the southern border at 7,138. 

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