Blaze News exclusive: Heritage Oversight Project exposes Biden’s ‘election interference’ scheme, identifies 3 ways states can fight back

May 16, 2024 | U.S. | 0 comments

President Joe Biden issued an executive order early in his presidency that effectively compels federal agencies to mobilize historically Democratic groups to vote. After investigating Executive Order 14019, its origins, and its application, the Heritage Foundation’s government watchdog Oversight Project concluded it constitutes “election interference” and could be greatly consequential in November.

“The last election was decided by less than 40K votes in the determinative swings,” Mike Howell, executive director of the Oversight Project, told Blaze News.

Howell highlighted further how Demos — a leftist think tank whose
2020 recommendations to the Biden administration appear to have helped inspire EO 14019 — has boasted that the scheme could bring in 3 million new voter registrations per year. Howell suspects the number could be far higher.

The Oversight Project has gone beyond merely diagnosing the problem. Today, it has
exposed various agencies’ strategic plans and identified three major steps that states can take to thwart or at the very least “frustrate” them.

The order

Months after taking office, Biden
issued Executive Order 14019, alleging that minorities, particularly blacks, are disproportionately met today with “significant obstacles” to voting. According to the preamble, they are “disproportionately burdened by voter identification laws and limited opportunities to vote by mail.”

Greater turnout from this particular cohort would likely be a boon for Biden, given that 83% of black voters are presently Democrats or lean Democratic,
according to the Pew Research Center.

After intimating that minorities have trouble using IDs and mailboxes, the preamble suggests that in order to remedy this perceived racial discrimination and to “protect the right to vote,” it is incumbent upon the Biden administration to enmesh itself more fully in the election process.

‘Biden signed Executive Order (E.O.) 14019 directing every federal agency to get out the vote for his reelection campaign.’

To this end, Biden
compelled federal agencies to “consider ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.”

— (@)

The Oversight Project indicated this means those federal agencies that regularly engage with the American public must:

“use their resources, connections, and relationships with their clientele to facilitate registrations and mass mail-in ballot applications;
“use federal resources to assist in completing those registrations and applications”; and
“provide space on ‘agency premises’ and resources to ‘approved’ non-governmental organizations (‘NGO’) and ‘state officials’ to accomplish these directives.”

The Oversight Project has
summarized the situation thusly: “On March 7, 2021 Biden signed Executive Order (E.O.) 14019 directing every federal agency to get out the vote for his reelection campaign. This whole of government approach is partnering with exclusively left-wing dark money groups.”

Partisan executors

There are various reasons to doubt the lawfulness and neutrality of these efforts — whether prospective voters in historically right-leaning areas will be sought out for registry with the same enthusiasm as potential Biden voters in blue enclaves. After all, the administrative state overwhelmingly leans left and and has made no secret in recent years of its anti-Trump skew.

The Hill
reported that 95% of all campaign donations from 14 government agencies went to Clinton ahead of the 2016 election. In 2020, the majority of federal employees again donated to the Democratic candidate.

A balance is unlikely to be struck now, especially with former President Donald Trump
expected to restore the Schedule F employment category for federal employees if re-elected, which would make it easier to kick insubordinate and poorly performing bureaucrats to the curb.

The Oversight Project highlighted what are perhaps more pressing issues with the order’s execution, such as its corresponding approval process for non-governmental organizations and state officials, noting that the evidence at hand — of which there would be more but for the administration’s apparent aversion to transparency — “demonstrates a left-wing partisan implementation of E.O. 14019.”

In a May 1 memo, the Oversight Project
indicated there was cause to suspect that the NGOs executing Biden’s will were predominantly, if not entirely, populated by fellow travelers.

The Biden Department of Justice, various other federal agencies, and White House staff held a “Listening Session” on July 12, 2021, regarding the order’s implementation. The Oversight Project noted that there was not one identifiable Republican, independent or politically conservative individual among the NGOs’ representatives present for the session.

That is less surprising given the liberal, Democratic-aligned groups in attendance, which included the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League, Black Votes Matter, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Open Society Policy Center, and the NAACP.

It’s not just the political makeup and biases of the NGOs that warrant skepticism about the neutrality of the voter mobilization scheme.

According to the Oversight Project, Democratic state actors are similarly getting in on the scheme.

In March, the U.S. Small Business Administration
announced an agreement with the Michigan Department of State to oblige Biden and execute his order in the state. Similar initiatives in Michigan boosted Biden in 2020. Now his administration will be working hand in glove with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, “a left-wing partisan who has embraced policy positions that undermine election security.”

Benson has a spotty record when it comes to elections. A State Court of Claims judge
ruled in 2021 that she had violated state law by unilaterally altering absentee voting rules ahead of the 2020 election. According to the Federalist, she worked with a nonprofit linked to Mark Zuckerberg-funded groups to influence state elections in 2019. In March, she was sued by the Republican National Committee for allegedly failing to clean up Michigan’s “inflated and “inaccurate” voter rolls.

Despite
branding Biden’s opponent a “threat to democracy” in December and suggesting she was allied with her counterparts in swing states against a “common adversary,” the law violating Democrat will nonetheless play a part in “connecting Michigan’s small business community with the tools and information they need to play an even greater active role in our democracy.”

‘Biden bucks’ strategies exposed

While concerns in recent years about the execution of Biden’s order could possibly be allayed by the provision of greater insights into the nature of its rollout, the Oversight Project indicated “the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats have fought efforts to provide transparency about E.O. 14019.”

Various attempts to obtain information via
congressional oversight and Freedom of Information requests — such as those launched by the Foundation for Government Accountability and America First Legal Foundation — have apparently been met with resistance.

After AFL sued 14 agencies in an effort to see the strategic plans they provided to the White House, the Biden DOJ told AFL to pound sand, claiming the plans were exempt from public disclosure as privileged presidential communications, according to the Oversight Project.

These apparent efforts to keep the specifics of the scheme under wraps have prompted greater suspicion, especially at the Oversight Project, which has apparently filed around 1,600 FOIA requests related to the EO and a
lawsuit just last week against the Small Business Administration.

The Oversight Project has, however,
finally got its hands on various agencies’ strategic plans along with internal communications about the executive order and correspondences with leftist NGOs.

Newly released and largely redacted
documents detail some of the lengths federal agencies are going to mobilize friendly voter turnout per the EO, such as guaranteeing federal employees four hours of paid administrative leave per election to go vote or participate as supposedly non-partisan poll watchers. In the documents, there are also indications of internal concern over executing Biden’s will whilst avoiding brazen violations of the Hatch Act.

While some proposals in the documents are relatively innocuous, those promising to be most impactful appear to be geared toward boosting Democratic numbers, as Oversight previously indicated.

Among the documents obtained by Oversight is a
2021 recommendation to the Department of Education from various Democrat-aligned groups, such as the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, suggesting that it include “check-the-box” automatic voter registration for individuals applying for federal financial aid via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid process. The activistic outfits note in their recommendation that the Office of Federal Student Aid presently has the contact information of 20 million Americans enrolled in post-secondary institutions.

Non-college educated voters lean Republican whereas voters with college degrees are much more likely to lean toward the Democratic Party,
according to Pew. 20 million email addresses and automatic registries could go a long way in a tight race.

Oversight has indicated that it will continue to populate its repository of “Biden Bucks” documents as they become available.

Counteroffensive

When pressed on whether Congress could take meaningful action against the scheme, Howell responded, “Congress missed their shot. Ship sailed. They funded this.”

States, alternatively, could throw a wrench in the works.

Oversight outlined three ways that states could go about doing so, the first of which is attacking the application of the order with regards to presidential elections.

“Presidential elections are governed by the Electors clause of the Constitution, which by its text and original understanding gives zero warrant for Congressional action. States are well within their powers to pass laws solely governing presidential elections,” wrote the Oversight Project. “To be sure, different procedures for Presidential Elections impose increased administrative burdens and costs, but those are justified by insulating at least that electoral process from partisan Executive Branch action.”

States could also raise hell about the “partisan political activity inherent in the plans and actions of the federal employees involved.”

Complaints citing possible Hatch Act violations could potentially frustrate the scheme or at the very least force the administration to speak to its meddling.

Finally, Oversight highlighted how “Section 7 of the [National Voter Registration Act] provides that ‘Federal and nongovernmental offices’ can only engage in the type of activities directed by the Executive Order if a state ‘designate[s]’ that office to act as a voter registration agency.”

“States could take all appropriate action to remove and attack designations of federal agencies to act under the NVRA that States did not make, or that were made by State officials without appropriate authority,” wrote Oversight, stressing that college campuses and state prisons would be worth scrutinizing.

‘Executive Order 14019 raises significant challengers for our nation’s system of checks and balances that the framers carefully crafted in the Constitution to guard against attempts by the executive branch to circumvent the legislative process.’

Howell and his team at the Oversight Project are hardly outliers in figuring the so-called “Biden Bucks” scheme for a “threat to election integrity.”

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee noted in their
Monday letter to Shalanda Young, the director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, “Ensuring the safe and secure administration of elections and access for all legal voters is critical, but the authority to engage in such efforts is expressly delegated to the states and the Congress by the Constitution.”

“Executive Order 14019 raises significant challengers for our nation’s system of checks and balances that the framers carefully crafted in the Constitution to guard against attempts by the executive branch to circumvent the legislative process,” continued the letter.

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President Joe Biden issued an executive order early in his presidency that effectively compels federal agencies to mobilize historically Democratic groups to vote. After investigating Executive Order 14019, its origins, and its application, the Heritage Foundation’s government watchdog Oversight Project concluded it constitutes “election interference” and could be greatly consequential in November.

“The last election was decided by less than 40K votes in the determinative swings,” Mike Howell, executive director of the Oversight Project, told Blaze News.

Howell highlighted further how Demos — a leftist think tank whose
2020 recommendations to the Biden administration appear to have helped inspire EO 14019 — has boasted that the scheme could bring in 3 million new voter registrations per year. Howell suspects the number could be far higher.

The Oversight Project has gone beyond merely diagnosing the problem. Today, it has
exposed various agencies’ strategic plans and identified three major steps that states can take to thwart or at the very least “frustrate” them.
The order

Months after taking office, Biden
issued Executive Order 14019, alleging that minorities, particularly blacks, are disproportionately met today with “significant obstacles” to voting. According to the preamble, they are “disproportionately burdened by voter identification laws and limited opportunities to vote by mail.”

Greater turnout from this particular cohort would likely be a boon for Biden, given that 83% of black voters are presently Democrats or lean Democratic,
according to the Pew Research Center.

After intimating that minorities have trouble using IDs and mailboxes, the preamble suggests that in order to remedy this perceived racial discrimination and to “protect the right to vote,” it is incumbent upon the Biden administration to enmesh itself more fully in the election process.

‘Biden signed Executive Order (E.O.) 14019 directing every federal agency to get out the vote for his reelection campaign.’

To this end, Biden
compelled federal agencies to “consider ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.”

— (@)

The Oversight Project indicated this means those federal agencies that regularly engage with the American public must:

“use their resources, connections, and relationships with their clientele to facilitate registrations and mass mail-in ballot applications;
“use federal resources to assist in completing those registrations and applications”; and
“provide space on ‘agency premises’ and resources to ‘approved’ non-governmental organizations (‘NGO’) and ‘state officials’ to accomplish these directives.”
The Oversight Project has
summarized the situation thusly: “On March 7, 2021 Biden signed Executive Order (E.O.) 14019 directing every federal agency to get out the vote for his reelection campaign. This whole of government approach is partnering with exclusively left-wing dark money groups.”
Partisan executors

There are various reasons to doubt the lawfulness and neutrality of these efforts — whether prospective voters in historically right-leaning areas will be sought out for registry with the same enthusiasm as potential Biden voters in blue enclaves. After all, the administrative state overwhelmingly leans left and and has made no secret in recent years of its anti-Trump skew.

The Hill
reported that 95% of all campaign donations from 14 government agencies went to Clinton ahead of the 2016 election. In 2020, the majority of federal employees again donated to the Democratic candidate.

A balance is unlikely to be struck now, especially with former President Donald Trump
expected to restore the Schedule F employment category for federal employees if re-elected, which would make it easier to kick insubordinate and poorly performing bureaucrats to the curb.
The Oversight Project highlighted what are perhaps more pressing issues with the order’s execution, such as its corresponding approval process for non-governmental organizations and state officials, noting that the evidence at hand — of which there would be more but for the administration’s apparent aversion to transparency — “demonstrates a left-wing partisan implementation of E.O. 14019.”

In a May 1 memo, the Oversight Project
indicated there was cause to suspect that the NGOs executing Biden’s will were predominantly, if not entirely, populated by fellow travelers.

The Biden Department of Justice, various other federal agencies, and White House staff held a “Listening Session” on July 12, 2021, regarding the order’s implementation. The Oversight Project noted that there was not one identifiable Republican, independent or politically conservative individual among the NGOs’ representatives present for the session.

That is less surprising given the liberal, Democratic-aligned groups in attendance, which included the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League, Black Votes Matter, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Open Society Policy Center, and the NAACP.

It’s not just the political makeup and biases of the NGOs that warrant skepticism about the neutrality of the voter mobilization scheme.

According to the Oversight Project, Democratic state actors are similarly getting in on the scheme.

In March, the U.S. Small Business Administration
announced an agreement with the Michigan Department of State to oblige Biden and execute his order in the state. Similar initiatives in Michigan boosted Biden in 2020. Now his administration will be working hand in glove with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, “a left-wing partisan who has embraced policy positions that undermine election security.”

Benson has a spotty record when it comes to elections. A State Court of Claims judge
ruled in 2021 that she had violated state law by unilaterally altering absentee voting rules ahead of the 2020 election. According to the Federalist, she worked with a nonprofit linked to Mark Zuckerberg-funded groups to influence state elections in 2019. In March, she was sued by the Republican National Committee for allegedly failing to clean up Michigan’s “inflated and “inaccurate” voter rolls.

Despite
branding Biden’s opponent a “threat to democracy” in December and suggesting she was allied with her counterparts in swing states against a “common adversary,” the law violating Democrat will nonetheless play a part in “connecting Michigan’s small business community with the tools and information they need to play an even greater active role in our democracy.”
‘Biden bucks’ strategies exposed

While concerns in recent years about the execution of Biden’s order could possibly be allayed by the provision of greater insights into the nature of its rollout, the Oversight Project indicated “the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats have fought efforts to provide transparency about E.O. 14019.”

Various attempts to obtain information via
congressional oversight and Freedom of Information requests — such as those launched by the Foundation for Government Accountability and America First Legal Foundation — have apparently been met with resistance.

After AFL sued 14 agencies in an effort to see the strategic plans they provided to the White House, the Biden DOJ told AFL to pound sand, claiming the plans were exempt from public disclosure as privileged presidential communications, according to the Oversight Project.

These apparent efforts to keep the specifics of the scheme under wraps have prompted greater suspicion, especially at the Oversight Project, which has apparently filed around 1,600 FOIA requests related to the EO and a
lawsuit just last week against the Small Business Administration.
The Oversight Project has, however,
finally got its hands on various agencies’ strategic plans along with internal communications about the executive order and correspondences with leftist NGOs.

Newly released and largely redacted
documents detail some of the lengths federal agencies are going to mobilize friendly voter turnout per the EO, such as guaranteeing federal employees four hours of paid administrative leave per election to go vote or participate as supposedly non-partisan poll watchers. In the documents, there are also indications of internal concern over executing Biden’s will whilst avoiding brazen violations of the Hatch Act.

While some proposals in the documents are relatively innocuous, those promising to be most impactful appear to be geared toward boosting Democratic numbers, as Oversight previously indicated.

Among the documents obtained by Oversight is a
2021 recommendation to the Department of Education from various Democrat-aligned groups, such as the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, suggesting that it include “check-the-box” automatic voter registration for individuals applying for federal financial aid via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid process. The activistic outfits note in their recommendation that the Office of Federal Student Aid presently has the contact information of 20 million Americans enrolled in post-secondary institutions.

Non-college educated voters lean Republican whereas voters with college degrees are much more likely to lean toward the Democratic Party,
according to Pew. 20 million email addresses and automatic registries could go a long way in a tight race.

Oversight has indicated that it will continue to populate its repository of “Biden Bucks” documents as they become available.
Counteroffensive

When pressed on whether Congress could take meaningful action against the scheme, Howell responded, “Congress missed their shot. Ship sailed. They funded this.”

States, alternatively, could throw a wrench in the works.

Oversight outlined three ways that states could go about doing so, the first of which is attacking the application of the order with regards to presidential elections.

“Presidential elections are governed by the Electors clause of the Constitution, which by its text and original understanding gives zero warrant for Congressional action. States are well within their powers to pass laws solely governing presidential elections,” wrote the Oversight Project. “To be sure, different procedures for Presidential Elections impose increased administrative burdens and costs, but those are justified by insulating at least that electoral process from partisan Executive Branch action.”

States could also raise hell about the “partisan political activity inherent in the plans and actions of the federal employees involved.”

Complaints citing possible Hatch Act violations could potentially frustrate the scheme or at the very least force the administration to speak to its meddling.

Finally, Oversight highlighted how “Section 7 of the [National Voter Registration Act] provides that ‘Federal and nongovernmental offices’ can only engage in the type of activities directed by the Executive Order if a state ‘designate[s]’ that office to act as a voter registration agency.”

“States could take all appropriate action to remove and attack designations of federal agencies to act under the NVRA that States did not make, or that were made by State officials without appropriate authority,” wrote Oversight, stressing that college campuses and state prisons would be worth scrutinizing.

‘Executive Order 14019 raises significant challengers for our nation’s system of checks and balances that the framers carefully crafted in the Constitution to guard against attempts by the executive branch to circumvent the legislative process.’

Howell and his team at the Oversight Project are hardly outliers in figuring the so-called “Biden Bucks” scheme for a “threat to election integrity.”

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee noted in their
Monday letter to Shalanda Young, the director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, “Ensuring the safe and secure administration of elections and access for all legal voters is critical, but the authority to engage in such efforts is expressly delegated to the states and the Congress by the Constitution.”

“Executive Order 14019 raises significant challengers for our nation’s system of checks and balances that the framers carefully crafted in the Constitution to guard against attempts by the executive branch to circumvent the legislative process,” continued the letter.

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