California Governor Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill Kamala Harris' U.S. Senate seat once it becomes vacant. RNLA Co-Chair Harmeet Dhillon, a Californian, reacted to the news on Twitter:
One of the worst election officials in the nation will go to DC, unelected!!! A fitting exit to his failed tenure. Remember the time he said door to door ballot harvesting by strangers was cool during a pandemic shutdown when businesses and churches were shuttered? Good times. https://t.co/g6pLSnwfFT— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) December 22, 2020
Padilla has come under fire in the past for his poor record as California's Secretary of State. The RNLA has highlighted these issues since Padilla became Secretary of State in 2015:
Everyone now recognizes that the CA election system. . .is manipulated by political operatives. Having won due to ballot harvesting in CA, Dems led by @SpeakerPelosi & @marceelias are now seeking to take these harmful practices nationwide through litigation &. . .legislation.2/2— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) May 14, 2020
Thanks to RNLA Members & leaders @ChuckBellRNLA@chefjclark, @pnjaban , @MarkMeuser, and @StefPassantino efforts to disenfranchise California voters by keeping President Trump off the ballot have been stopped. Congratulations and thank you to all. https://t.co/IrcTJkZKnS— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) October 2, 2019
Many residents in California are voting twice and it’s time for Secretary of State Alex Padilla to stop ignoring the problem. This flaw in their system has been an issue for years and the integrity of our elections is at stake. https://t.co/dIXcJTVXwy— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) May 13, 2019
Most recently, Padilla faced scrutiny from Republicans on the House Oversight and Administration Committees for alleged misuse of CARES Act funding. As reported by Fox News on December 3rd:
Republicans on the House Oversight and House Administration Committees are demanding answers from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla about a “highly questionable” $35 million contract his office awarded to a firm linked to the Biden campaign, claiming it was a “misuse of taxpayer money and a violation of the law.”
Padilla’s office, according to House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., Administration Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., allegedly used Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant money from the coronavirus stimulus package, known as the CARES Act, to fund a voter contract with SKD Knickerbocker— a public affairs and political consulting firm the Republican lawmakers described as “Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firm.”
House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer noted how alarming the prospect of a Senator Padilla would be when considering his poor stewardship of elections and taxpayer dollars on the state level:
“Secretary Padilla’s decision to fast-track a no-bid contract to a pro-Biden firm raises serious ethical and legal questions and we must have answers immediately,” Comer said in a statement to Fox News. “It appears taxpayer funds were illegally allocated by Padilla’s office to enable Democrat operatives to contact voters and potentially have access to sensitive voter information.”
Comer added that Padilla “must be held accountable for this gross misuse of Americans’ taxpayer dollars.”
“Given Mr. Padilla is rumored to be appointed to Senator Kamala Harris’ seat, the Inspector General must immediately investigate and report findings to Congress before he is entrusted with upholding the integrity of all federal elections and safeguarding taxpayer dollars,” he said.
Republicans should remain vigilant of soon-to-be-Senator Padilla for how he might try to implement California's failed election policies – like unlimited ballot harvesting and rapidly expanded mail voting – on the federal level.