House Republicans Don’t Want Dems Probing State-Level Voting Rights Issues

UNITED STATES - MAY 09:  Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks at a forum in Rayburn called a Conversations with Conservatives to discuss issues including appropriations and the upcoming reconciliation package. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 09: Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks at a forum in Rayburn called a Conversations with Conservatives to discuss issues including appropriations and the upcoming reconciliation package. (Photo By T... UNITED STATES - MAY 09: Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks at a forum in Rayburn called a Conversations with Conservatives to discuss issues including appropriations and the upcoming reconciliation package. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) MORE LESS
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April 15, 2019 3:54 p.m.

House Republicans said in letters to top elections officials in various states that the House Oversight Committee’s investigations into state-level voting rights issues are “partisan,” and exceed Congress’ investigative authority.

The letters — signed by House Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and other top Republican members of relevant Oversight subcommittees — were sent to secretaries of states and other officials in Georgia, Kansas and Texas.

In the letters, the Republican members of Congress don’t explicitly tell those states not to comply with document requests sent last month by Democrats. Rather, the letters call into question any “valid legislative purpose” underlying the document requests and claim the inquiries raise “serious federalism concerns.”

The letters also claim that the document requests were sent by Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) without consultation with GOP committee members or the representatives from the states themselves.

“We have since relayed our concerns to the chairman; however, we believe it is prudent to inform you of this matter as well,” the GOP letters said, providing a phone number for the officials to call if they have any questions.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has already told Democrats to pound sand over their request, which focuses on the state’s botched list of alleged noncitizen voters that is also the subject of litigation.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) — who was secretary of state during several elections-related controversies Democrats are now seeking to investigate — also dismissed the House committee’s inquiry. However, a congressional aide told TPM last month that the committee had received “commitments” from representatives in the Kemp’s and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s (R) offices to “fully cooperate with the inquiry in a timely manner.”

In Kansas, Democrats are interested in the relocation of a polling place to a remote location far from public transport in a minority-heavy county. Their document requests went to Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab and to the county clerk of the county in question, Ford County. Both Schwab and Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox received letters from the Republicans as well.

Read the GOP letters below:

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