Texas senator warns Leahy about weaponizing Federal Election Commission
By Guy Page
Should states – including Vermont – decide how to run their own elections? Or should Congress make the rules for state elections?
In recent statements, both Sen. Patrick Leahy and VT Secretary of State Jim Condos have stated openly that Congress knows best. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), on the other hand, says pending legislation (supported by both Leahy and Condos) just proves the opposite.
Yesterday, in an essay entitled “Democracy at a Crossroads,” Secretary of State Jim Condos called on Congress to pass HR1, the “For The People Act,” the purported electoral reform bill which passed the House but has stalled in the Senate. Condos – elected to represent Vermont voters and protect Vermont elections – comes down squarely on the side of taking crucial aspects of the election process out of Vermont’s hands and giving them to Congress:
“In the face of the alarming rise in state-level attacks on voting rights, we cannot afford to wait for solutions one-by-one in all 50 states. With the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court, we no longer have the luxury of a “wait and see” approach. Congress can, and must, create minimum voter access and fairness standards that states must abide by, so that eligible voters are not being denied their voting rights.
“Two federal bills pending, the For the People Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, give Congress this opportunity to act. The time has come for the partisan, political games to stop,” Condos writes.
But partisan power politics are what’s really behind the “For The People Act,” Cruz said in a June 22 Senate speech exposing the flaws of HR1. The bill Cruz calls “The Corrupt Politicians Act” would:
- Strike down state voter ID laws, which over 70 percent of Americans support and over 60 percent of African Americans support. Vermont now has no voter ID requirement, although some Republicans have pledged to support it if introduced.
- Mandate ballot harvesting in all 50 states by striking down state laws that prohibit it. The potential for electoral fraud is particularly high when partisan activists collect ballots at senior living homes, Cruz said.
- Strike down laws to prohibit voter registration of non-citizens applying for state drivers’ licenses.
- Require states to allow felons to vote. Murderers, rapists, and child molesters would all be allowed to vote” because Democrats have made the cynical calculation that if millions of illegal aliens are allowed to vote, and millions of criminals and felons are allowed to vote, that those individuals are likely to vote Democrat, and Democrats want to stay in power,” Cruz said.
- Limit how states remove the names of dead people from voter rolls. “You can’t go in when someone is dead and say dead people shouldn’t be voting. No, this bill mandates leaving the dead people on the rolls, another step designed to invite fraud,” Cruz said.
- Create welfare for incumbent politicians. This bill is designed to give hundreds of millions of dollars every year to incumbent politicians to keep them in power. “It matches for contributions under $200, six-to-one federal funds so that the members of this body would receive collectively over a billion dollars in federal funds to stay in power,” Cruz said. “If you’re a corrupt politician who wants to prevent a challenger from ever defeating you and if you want to prevent the voters from making a different choice, then you flood them with federal funds to make it so you can’t beat corrupt incumbents. But that’s not what you do if you want to protect the right to vote. This bill is brazen.”
- End political neutrality of the Federal Election Commission. Current law requires an equal number of Democrats and Republicans serving as commissioners. HR1 would change the composition of the commission to give the ruling party a 3-2 edge, Cruz said.
On the subject of the FEC, Cruz aimed his remarks directly at Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
“Mr. President, you’re a sophisticated political player. I want you to ask for a second in a close election, in the weeks before the election, if the Senate Majority Leader had the ability to launch investigations from the Federal Elections Commission, to bring prosecutions from the Federal Elections Commission, to sue the political opponents of the majority, how much would that invite abuse?
“I understand right now Democrats are in power of both houses of Congress and the White House. Power can be intoxicating.
“But I do want to point out it wasn’t that long ago, Mr. President, you and I were both in this body four years ago when there was a Republican president and a Republican House and a Republican Senate.
You didn’t see the Republican majority try anything as brazen as the ‘Corrupt Politicians Act.’ You didn’t see a Republican majority trying to rig the game, trying to change the rules so that Republicans could never be defeated in the next election. You didn’t see the Republican majority trying to turn the Federal Election Commission into a partisan weapon.
“We should protect the right to vote. This bill takes away your right to vote. This bill is designed to prevent the voters from choosing to throw the bums out, the most fundamental right of any voter to throw the bums out whether they’re one side or the other side. We the people have sovereignty, and this bill, the ‘Corrupt Politicians Act,’ was designed to take that power from the people and give it to the politicians in Washington.”
Leahy did not offer a direct, public response to Cruz. However on July 1 he derided the Supreme Court’s Brnovich ruling upholding a state’s right to determine how to conduct elections, which he called “a body blow to yet another critical pillar of the Voting Rights Act.”