Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee which is investigating voter suppression, sent letters to election officials in Kansas, Georgia, and Texas. The letters say that the committee had exceeded its authority by asking for certain information from those states and that the Democratic-led investigation was partisan and beyond the bounds of Congress’ oversight power, according to McClatchy DC.
This comes after Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), the House Oversight Chair, sent records requests to the three states. The committee will look at four or five states and is able to subpoena witnesses in its investigation of potential voter suppression. Cummings says they are investigating states considered to have “the most egregious situations.”
Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab’s office had already responded when Jordan sent his letter.
“We have fulfilled the committee’s request,” said Katie Koupal, spokeswoman for Schwab. “We’ve provided the applicable information. They requested the communications and we provided them with what we had on record.”
In Kansas, Cummings hoped to acquire communications between Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. In 2018, the two decided to move Dodge City’s only polling place outside the limits of the majority Latino city.
“As articulated by the chairman, their inquiry does not appear to have a valid legislative purpose and instead seeks confidential communications among state officials, including state law enforcement officials, regarding the enforcement of state law,” the letter from Jordan and three other Republicans on the committee says.
Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), who chairs the House civil rights and civil liberties subcommittee, responded: “It would be best if our GOP colleagues joined us in protecting voting rights, but at the very least they should stop trying to prevent us from doing our constitutional mandated work.”
Cummings and Raskin also asked Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for data from the state’s 2018 election. Kemp, who won the gubernatorial election, oversaw voting as secretary of state. He was running against Stacey Abrams (D), who had hoped to become the nation’s first African American woman governor. Kemp won 50.2 percent of the vote.
A few weeks before the election, Kemp’s office placed registration applications on hold for 53,000 Georgians, most of them minorities. Kemp denies that this was voter suppression.
Cummings and Raskin have asked Georgia officials to hand over “all communications related to any voter roll purges,” as well as “all documents related to your ethical or legal obligations or possible conflicts of interest while simultaneously running for governor and overseeing the state’s elections as Georgia’s secretary of state.”
Democrats asked for documents from Texas officials detailing alleged efforts to take possible non-citizens off voter rolls. On March 28, Raskin and Cummings wrote that they were “disturbed” by reports that Texas officials have “taken steps to remove thousands of eligible American voters” from state rolls.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office responded that the oversight committee “lacks any oversight jurisdiction over constitutional officers in the State of Texas.”
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