Sen. Ted Budd (R-NC) led several Republican senators in launching a bill Tuesday to bar the Biden administration from enlisting third-party groups for get out the vote efforts.
The bill, called the Promoting Free and Fair Elections Act, would prevent executive branch agencies from entering into agreements with nongovernmental organizations for the purpose of conducting “voter mobilization activity” on government property.
The legislation comes as a response to President Joe Biden’s executive order from 2021 allowing federal government agencies to use taxpayer dollars to register voters and distribute ballot applications, as well as authorizing them to pay for third-party organizations to do the same.
The bill would also eliminate the agencies’ ability to use taxpayer dollars to conduct any of the get out the vote activities.
Budd said in a statement of the bill, “The federal government and its millions of employees should not be using official resources to advance partisan politics,” charging that the executive order amounted to Biden permitting “electioneering.”
“President Biden’s executive order empowering every federal agency to engage in electioneering on the taxpayers’ dime raises serious ethical and legal concerns,” he said. “This sweeping directive is inherently political and directed primarily at groups expected to vote for one party over another.”
Budd and a half-dozen other GOP senators have signed on to the bill:
- Sen. Marsha Blackburn (TN)
- Sen. Roger Marshall (KS)
- Sen. Mike Lee (UT)
- Sen. Mike Braun (IN)
- Sen. Deb Fischer (NE)
- Sen. Bill Hagerty (TN)
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), cochair of the Election Integrity Caucus, is leading the House version of the bill.
The bill was first introduced in both chambers last year but never advanced because of lack of Democrat support for the measure.
Budd, who served in the House prior to joining the Senate this year, along with Tenney and roughly three dozen other House Republicans, contacted the Biden administration in January 2022 seeking documents to better understand any agencies’ plans for carrying out Biden’s executive order.
According to Budd, the White House “never responded to the request and has refused to publicly disclose plans.”
In addition to congressional Republicans’ worries about the order, several GOP attorneys general called on Biden to rescind it in September 2022, saying it worked to “undermine the integrity and public trust in elections and runs counter to the U.S. and state Constitutions.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.
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