Jim Jordan: "States' Rights" Prevent Congress From Probing Voter Suppression
An ongoing investigation led by Democrats into cases of alleged voter suppression during the 2018 election has sparked anger among Republican officials in the House Oversight Committee, Salon reports.
In a letter to committee chair and Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties head and Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Republican Jim Jordan complained about their document requests related to controversial races in three red states last year. Elections in Georgia, Kansas, and Texas drew speculation from Democrats of possible foul play.
In the letter signed by three other committee Republicans, the committee's ranking member and Ohio representative wrote, “We have serious concerns that your letters appear to be an attempt to insert the Committee into particular state election proceedings, for which we do not see a legitimate legislative purpose.
“By seeking voluminous records relating to election administration of sovereign states, your investigation offends state-federal comity,” Jordan continued. “In fact, the respective states are already working to resolve any issues with their election administration.”
The GOP lawmakers also notified officials in the three contested states, warning them that the investigation does not have "valid legislative purpose." Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton responded to Cummings and Raskin's inquiry saying that he would not cooperate with their request.
In response, Raskin said, “The U.S. Congress has the power and obligation to enforce the voting rights of the people as spelled out in the 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, a power we have exercised repeatedly in statutes like the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Americans with Disabilities Act to shut down state action hostile to democratic participation."
Cummings, in a statement to TalkingPointsMemo, accused the Republican lawmaker of being blinded by his own partiality.
“It’s disappointing that Rep. Jordan is so opposed to oversight at so many levels. 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.
“Democrats will do everything in our power to investigate reports of voter suppression, and we expect full compliance with the Committee’s requests.”
The Democrats allege that officials in Georgia, Kansas, and Texas blocked tens of thousands of citizens from voting, particularly African-American and Hispanic residents.