GOP Lawmakers Demand Probe into Potential Misuse of Taxpayer Funds for Democratic Electioneering

  • Miss Roxanne Kunde Sr.
  • July 10, 2024 12:03pm
  • 109

A delegation of Michigan House GOP members, led by Rep. Roger Williams, are demanding answers from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson regarding allegations that federal taxpayer dollars may have been used to aid President Biden's reelection campaign.

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GOP Lawmakers Demand Probe into Potential Misuse of Taxpayer Funds for Democratic Electioneering

GOP Lawmakers Demand Probe into Potential Misuse of Taxpayer Funds for Democratic Electioneering

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), along with the entire Michigan House GOP delegation and a major committee chair, have penned a letter to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson demanding answers regarding the potential misuse of federal taxpayer dollars for pro-Democratic Party electioneering. The letter cites concerns about a 2021 memo between the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Benson's department, which utilized an executive order on "promoting access to voting" to provide directives on voter registration efforts.

Williams, who is also the head of the House Small Business Committee, and the co-signers of the letter are seeking documentation to determine whether the voter registration work done under the memo has strategically favored Democrats. They claim that 39 of 52 scheduled small business outreach events in Michigan are taking place in counties with the highest populations of demographics targeted by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Additionally, 100% of visits to Michigan by the SBA Administrator and Deputy Administrator have occurred in counties with high populations of DNC target demographics.

GOP Lawmakers Demand Probe into Potential Misuse of Taxpayer Funds for Democratic Electioneering

GOP Lawmakers Demand Probe into Potential Misuse of Taxpayer Funds for Democratic Electioneering

The letter questions the proclivity of these efforts in places valued by the Biden administration and campaign, suggesting that the Biden administration may not be concerned about upholding democracy. McClain calls the alleged behavior an "abuse of power" that risks future election integrity. Williams adds that evidence shows the SBA "has the ability to indirectly campaign" for Biden in a must-win state, calling it a "ridiculous — and likely illegal — use of taxpayer resources."

The delegation cites a covertly recorded April video released by self-described "guerrilla journalist" James O'Keefe, which shows an SBA official claiming Small Business Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman's travel is sometimes purposefully targeted to indirectly campaign for Biden. The video references a visit to Senator Jon Tester's (D-Mont.) home state, where the SBA official notes Tester's seat is crucial for a continuing Democratic majority in the Senate.

GOP Lawmakers Demand Probe into Potential Misuse of Taxpayer Funds for Democratic Electioneering

GOP Lawmakers Demand Probe into Potential Misuse of Taxpayer Funds for Democratic Electioneering

The letter demands that Benson provide all documents and communications related to the memo, Michigan voter registration, and any external contractors involved. It also seeks information on expenses related to the memo, the source of payments, and the name of the state official designated as Benson's liaison with the SBA. The delegation further requests lists of relevant events in Republican House districts with notations of invitations extended to Republican members and the two Democratic senators.

In response to past criticisms of the Michigan Department of State's (MDOS) work under the memo, spokeswoman Angela Benander defended the agency's participation as part of a "first-in-the-nation effort" with the small business community to promote democracy. She dismisses allegations of partisan use as "patently false" and denies any unfounded criticism of the voter registration web portal due to its minimal use.

GOP Lawmakers Demand Probe into Potential Misuse of Taxpayer Funds for Democratic Electioneering

GOP Lawmakers Demand Probe into Potential Misuse of Taxpayer Funds for Democratic Electioneering

Critics, however, remain suspicious of the attention given by a Biden administration agency to a key swing state in this way. Guzman has previously stated that the memo aims to promote civic engagement and fulfill a Biden administration promise to strengthen democracy. The SBA has declined to comment on the veracity of O'Keefe's video.

GOP Lawmakers Demand Probe into Potential Misuse of Taxpayer Funds for Democratic Electioneering
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