Earlier today, the Senate Rules Committee held a hearing on the Corrupt Politicians Act. As Senator Cruz pointed out, Democrats have made keeping themselves in power their #1 priority for this Congress despite the myriad of important issues facing the country.
The first half of the hearing mainly focussed on election administration issues. The Republican witnesses included West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner and Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. The Democrat witnesses included former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and Brennan Center President Michael Waldman.
Secretary of State Benson was a particularly interesting choice by the Democrats considering
This is pretty hilarious -— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) March 24, 2021
Democrats called Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson as a witness for this HR. 1 hearing.
Benson last made headlines .. when a judge threw out her last-minute guidance because she violated election law.
Some highlights from the first part of the hearing:
Since the beginning of this country, states have been responsible for elections. The diversity of our election system is one of the great strengths of our election system.— Senator Roy Blunt (@RoyBlunt) March 24, 2021
S. 1 would force a single, partisan view of elections on more than 10,000 jurisdictions across the country. pic.twitter.com/dilzwUB2at
MCCONNELL: Democrats are trying to unseat a Republican who won last Nov. and replace her with the Democrat she defeated.— Senate Republican Communications Center (@SRCC) March 24, 2021
That’s what happens when you let partisan bodies regulate elections.
And that's exactly what H.R.1 would do. It is not what we need at the @FEC. https://t.co/CcTUQzolhP
🔊 LIVE FROM THE HEARING— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action) March 24, 2021
"The American People object to many, many provisions in this bill." - @SenatorWicker
A recent @Rasmussen_Poll shows 75% of Americans are in favor of Voter ID laws.
The Corrupt Politicians Act would cancel voter ID laws. 👇https://t.co/kAbCl6kSpK
The so-called “For the People Act” would actually remove access to voting for our service members overseas and West Virginians with disabilities.— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) March 24, 2021
Thanks to @WVsosoffice Mac Warner, voting access in WV has increased in recent years.
This bill is not right for our state. pic.twitter.com/NIA8vYqBXu
The second half of the hearing focussed on the effects of the Corrupt Politicians Act on campaign finance and the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The Democrats called former FEC Chair and President of Campaign Legal Center Trevor Potter, Director of Democracy 21 Fred Wertheimer, and President and Executive Director of End Citizens United/Let America Vote Action Fund Tiffany Muller.
The Republicans called RNLA Board member Lee Goodman and Chairman of the Institute for Free Speech Brad Smith. Both formerly chaired the FEC.
The testimony submitted to the Committee by Goodman highlights the far-reaching effects the the Corrupt Politicians Act would have on the current campaign finance system and, most importantly, Americans' freedom of speech:
Indeed, S. 1 proposes many restrictions on the right of the American people to speak about issues and politicians, hear ideas, and associate freely. It exposes Americans to an unprecedented system of mandatory public doxing and exposure when they desire to spend as little as $500 to discuss sensitive policy issues. It likewise imposes new civil and criminal liability on American media companies, which will push many media companies to eliminate low-cost online advertising platforms from populist organizations for political messages. Some already have closed their platforms to political advertising. S. 1 would hasten more such closures and deplatforming of populist political speech.
Many of the bill’s core provisions are vague and untested. Many of its predicate findings and justifications are outdated or simply incorrect. If enacted many of the bill’s provisions would be challenged immediately and likely ruled unconstitutional.
At a time of intense political polarization, when “cancel culture” and “call out tactics” and political polarization and intolerance are at their zenith, this bill exacerbates all of these social problems. At a time when legislators around the country are demanding greater privacy protections by social media companies, this bill goes in the opposite direction and compels public exposure of citizens’ speech and associations. At a time when people distrust government, this bill would foment greater distrust about the fairness and bi-partisanship of the FEC.
Ranking Member Blunt echoed both Smith and Goodman's concerns about the Corrupt Politicians Act's effects on the FEC:
Both @CommishSmith and RNLA Board Member Lee Goodman spoke passionately on the dangers of @FEC controlled by either party. @RoyBlunt gave a great example of how Congress would NEVER let itself be bound by such dangerous rules. 2/2— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) March 24, 2021
As the Republican Senators repeatedly highlighted during today's hearing, there's no reason to federalize our elections. The testimony showed how state control of elections is working and that changes to the campaign finance system would be at the expense of our freedom of speech.