OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
In June 2021, Democrats attempted the so-called “For The People Act” which, among other things, would eliminate most states’ Voter ID laws.
The legislation failed in the Senate, presumably in part due to conflicts with existing laws regarding voting.
After the attempted legislation failed, Vice President Kamala Harris revealed the Democrats’ fallback strategy.
Since the legislation hadn’t worked, the Biden Administration was resorting to executive orders.
“And then it is a matter of continuing to do the work of executive orders, doing the work through the Department of Justice, which has been litigating these cases in the various states,” Harris told CBS News, “because we believe they are a violation of the spirit of the Constitution of the United States.”
The order essentially accomplishes through executive action what could not be accomplished through lawful legislative means, due to legal conflicts.
Daily Caller stated on the subsequent executive order:
“In May 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to turn into the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, “a strategic plan outlining the ways identified under this review that the agency can promote voter registration and voter participation.”
Experts are saying the order may violate a number of federal laws.
Not only may the act violate federal law against using funds for purposes unapproved by Congress, but the order politicizes the election process itself.
In September of the same year the executive order was issued, the White House issued a ‘fact sheet’ detailing the ways in which federal agencies were complying with the order.
In the fact sheet, the White House called the order a, ‘call for all-of-government action’ on elections.
But Biden’s order calls for federal employees to use the funds of their agencies to, ‘promote voter registration and voter participation’,”
The Anti-Deficiency Act is a law enacted by Congress in 1884, with amendments in 1950 and 1982, that addresses integrity in the spending of government money.
The Anti-Deficiency Act prohibits the use of federal funds beyond what has been approved by Congress.
Federal employees who violate the Anti-Deficiency Act are subject to imprisonment, fines and suspension without pay.
Senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission Hans Von Spakovsky had this to say about the executive order in regard to the Act:
“Employees throughout the federal government who are carrying out President Joe Biden’s executive order directing them to get involved in state elections are likely all violating the Anti-Deficiency Act, besides interfering in the election process and using federal resources in what seems to be a get-out-the-vote operation for the party in power in the White House,”
Members of Congress are speaking out against the order, and beginning legislation regarding the issue.
Republican Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina introduced a bill to combat just this.
“The legislation would prevent the Biden administration from using the power, resources, and reach of the federal executive branch, and federal offices located in states across the country, from engaging in voter registration and mobilization efforts designed to benefit Democrats,” according to Budd’s website.
Russ Vought, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and president of the Center for Renewing America (CWA), wrote a letter to current OMB director Shalanda Young criticizing the order for its federal overreach.
“What we have seen thus far is of deep concern. Some of these plans provide that agencies will expend federal taxpayer funds or other resources and partner with preapproved outside organizations in order to satisfy the Biden Administration’s directive to engage in voter registration efforts,” the letter read.
Another law that possibly broken by the executive order is the Hatch Act, which prohibits civil service employees from engaging in partisan political activity.
Stewart Whitson, a former FBI supervisory agent told the Daily Signal that the circumstances under which the Anti-Deficiency Act was passed are, “strikingly similar” to the acts encouraged by Biden’s order now.
“It was based on a 1939 scandal where the national Democratic Party was using the government to get more votes,” he said.
“Executive Order 14019 seems designed to target voters that are more likely to vote Democrat,” Whitson continued. “Voter participation means voter mobilization. If the federal employees are engaged in getting people to the polls, that is political activity.”
Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney of New York told the Daily Signal, “We’re looking at potential Hatch Act violations.”
“We have these former political operatives now, and actually even government agencies, engaging in political operations to get votes out, which are roles reserved to the states and not to these federal operatives.”
It is clear that Biden’s answer to circumventing the legal process, his executive order, requires federal employees to engage in potentially illegal and partisan activity.
As multiple experts point out, the order is a likely violation of both the Anti-Deficiency Act and the Hatch Act.
Tonight, Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden led the left in an attempt to blow up the Senate rules to federalize elections. They want to silence Americans and ban voter ID.
States – not radicals in Washington – must remain in control of our elections.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) January 20, 2022