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Budd, Hagerty, Colleagues Renew Demand for Transparency on Taxpayer-Funded Voter Mobilization

Nov 29, 2023 | News, Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) has joined a coalition letter led by Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) to President Biden renewing their call for transparency regarding the use of taxpayer dollars to implement an executive order instructing federal agencies to engage in voter mobilization.

President Biden’s Executive Order 14019 would empower federal agencies to use taxpayer funds to implement or enter into agreements with partisan organizations that conduct voter mobilization activities.

The letter was also signed by: Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Katie Britt (R-AL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Lee (R-UT), Mike Braun (R-IN), Rick Scott (R-FL), J.D. Vance (R-OH), James Lankford (R-OK), Bill Casidy (R-LA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Risch (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Mike Crapo (R-ID).

Senator Budd proposed the Promoting Free and Fair Elections Act on May 2, 2023, which would prevent the Biden administration from implementing the order.

The full text of the letter is below:

We are concerned by your failure to respond to our previous inquiry on May 10, 2023, regarding Executive Order 14019 on “Promoting Access to Voting.”  This policy directive merits congressional oversight both as a general matter and under the Antideficiency Act.  Accordingly, we write to reiterate our request for information regarding the implementation of this executive order, including copies of the plans submitted to the White House.

Executive Order 14019 instructs federal agencies to engage in voter mobilization and submit a plan for doing so to the White House by September 2021.  The Order outlines various activities in which agencies are to engage, including promoting mail-in voting and partnering with third-party organizations to register voters. Federal agencies should be focused on their defined missions in a nonpartisan manner, not using taxpayer funds for voter mobilization efforts with potentially partisan impacts.  In other words, it’s not the job of the federal government to drive voter turnout.  Reviewing these agency plans is crucial to determining whether this order has or may lead to the improper use of federal resources.

Executive Order 14019 directs more than 600 federal agencies to engage in voter-related activities without congressional approval, and it is doubtful that Congress approved the use of appropriated agency funds for voter mobilization.  Using appropriated funds for a purpose that Congress did not expressly authorize would constitute a violation of the Antideficiency Act (31 U.S.C. § 1341(a)(1)(A)), which prohibits agencies from expending or obligating funds in a manner not authorized by law.  Violating this statute carries administrative and potential criminal penalties, highlighting the need for transparency. Unfortunately, the White House has kept these plans hidden despite numerous requests from Congress.

The initial deadline for providing this information was May 23, 2023, so the response is now 27 weeks overdue.

So that Congress can determine the voter mobilization and electioneering activities to which your Administration has devoted taxpayer resources, we respectfully request the following information developed in accordance with Executive Order 14019 as soon as possible:

  1. Full copies of all federal agency “strategic plans” required under Section 3 and a list of which agencies have not yet submitted a strategic plan;
  2. The strategic plan required by the General Services Administration under Section 5;
  3. The recommendations provided by the Office of Personnel Management under Section 6; and
  4. All procedures established by the Attorney General under Section 9.

Furthermore, we respectfully request a full accounting of all federal funding used to date to implement Executive Order 14019, including the accounts from which the funding was used.


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