Top Democrats on the House Oversight Committee pushed back at their Republican colleagues for questioning their investigation into state-level voting rights issues.
“It’s disappointing that Rep. [Jim] Jordan is so opposed to oversight at so many levels,” Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said in a statement to TPM Monday evening. “With a Democratic President, there was no allegation too small to investigate, but now that Donald Trump is in the White House, there is apparently no scandal too big to ignore.”
His comments come after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the committee’s top Republican, and other Oversight Republicans sent letters to elections officials in states where the committee is currently seeking documents related to recent elections issues. The GOP letters didn’t explicitly encourage the state and local election officials to defy the Dems’ requests. Rather, Republicans said that the inquiries raised “serious federalism concerns,” were “partisan,” and exceeded Congress’ investigative authority.
The letters were sent to election officials in Kansas, Texas and Georgia — states that received the Democrats’ document requests.
In a statement Monday evening, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) — the chair of the civil rights subcommittee that is involved in the voting rights probes — called for his “indignant colleagues” to review the 2014 oversight inquiries they did when Republicans held the committee gavel into states’ implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
“It is our solemn duty today to investigate state-based assaults on popular democracy like the reported purges of hundreds of thousands of voters and the relocation of municipal polling places outside of municipal boundaries,” Raskin said. “It is obviously within our power under the Supremacy Clause and the Bill of Rights to conduct constitutional oversight in order to protect voters’ rights in the states, resistance by partisan state officials notwithstanding.”
According to a House Oversight Committee aide, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has agreed to a “voluntary rolling but extended production schedule” — a process that has already begun. Election officials in Kansas — where Democrats are probing the relocation of the sole polling place in a minority-heavy county — have also agreed to comply with the document request, according to the aide.
Texas, however, is resisting turning over the documents House Democrats have requested concerning its attempts to use a sloppily compiled list of alleged non-citizens to purge voter rolls. The committee has nonetheless insisted that the state fully comply with its request.