What Is the Biden Admin Hiding on Federal Voter Mobilization? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
What Is the Biden Admin Hiding on Federal Voter Mobilization?
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Americans have good reason to wonder if the Biden administration is abusing its power in order to protect Democrats in November.

That’s what our organization discovered this month in our lawsuit against the Department of Justice. On Sept. 8, the DOJ ignored a court order to give us documents it’s required to share under federal law, and on Sept. 22 the DOJ told us that the public has no right to know what it may or may not do. But that’s absolutely false and anti-democratic.

We asked for everything showing its implementation of the president’s 2021 executive order, “Promoting Access to Voting.” Through this measure, Biden is forcing the DOJ and every other federal agency to help people “register to vote” and “participate in” elections. There’s a name for that — voter mobilization — and it’s unjust for the federal government to meddle in this area. A president has every right to sway potential voters on the campaign trail. He has no right to influence them using the force of the federal government.

Our lawsuit came after the DOJ failed to respond to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. We asked for all documents that show how the department is putting the executive order into action. After more than 200 days of waiting, we asked a federal court to force the DOJ to comply and turn over the information Americans deserve to know.

A president has every right to sway potential voters on the campaign trail. He has no right to influence them using the force of the federal government.

The court took our side, ordering the DOJ to start providing us with relevant documents by Sept. 8 so that we could discern the truth before the midterm elections. The department told the court that it has “approximately 5,500 records that are potentially responsive” to our request, yet it provided us with a mere 135 pages.

More concerning: The documents were heavily redacted, including no real details of the DOJ’s election-related actions. Its lack of transparency is incompatible with the court’s ruling.

The department tried to justify its intransigence by citing “the deliberative process and presidential communications privileges.” On Sept. 22, it doubled down on this claim. Yet it’s laughable when you consider the documents the DOJ blacked out or withheld in full. Crucially, the list includes the DOJ’s 15-page strategic plan for implementing the executive order, which remains completely in the dark. That document is not deliberative — it’s final. Nor does it reflect presidential communications. It appears administration officials simply don’t want us to see it. Why not?

The documents did contain one jaw-dropping revelation. They confirmed the existence of a 2021 White House meeting in which a slew of liberal groups provided feedback on the executive order’s implementation. One attendee from Demos called on the Biden administration to prioritize the agencies overseeing public housing and immigration. Demos previously authored a comprehensive plan to put federal agencies at the heart of voter registration — a plan that formed the basis of the president’s final executive order.

Clearly, the White House listens to this group, so its latest recommendations deserve attention and investigation. But once more, the DOJ withheld all the details. It refused to hand over a department employee’s notes from the White House meeting, arguing again on Sept. 22 that the public has no right to know about its “deliberations.” What doesn’t the Biden administration want Americans to see? (READ MORE from Stewart Whitson: Biden’s Unlawful Plan to Federalize Elections)

We only sued the Department of Justice. Yet every other federal agency — from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Defense — is also attempting to mobilize voters. We have submitted FOIA requests to other agencies, none of which have responded. Had we filed a lawsuit, it seems likely they’d be as opaque and sketchy as the DOJ.

The Department of Justice apparently has no intention of complying with the court order, much less respecting the American people’s right to know what its own government is doing with voting, the heart of democracy. In a forthcoming filing, we will ask the court to hold the DOJ accountable and compel release of the documents over the administration’s refusal.

A partisan president has taken the unprecedented step of ordering the federal government to push voters to participate in a heavily politicized election season. That reeks of a potential abuse of power — and the administration’s latest refusal to be transparent only makes the stench worse.

Tarren Bragdon is president of the Foundation for Government Accountability, where Stewart Whitson is legal director.

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