EXCLUSIVE: Conservative Org Investigating Biden Admin’s ‘Partisan’ Voter Registration Push In Key Swing State

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The America First Policy Institute (AFPI) launched an investigation Wednesday into a Biden administration program aimed at registering voters in a key swing state, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

AFPI is demanding documents from the Biden administration regarding the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) voter registration efforts in Michigan, an operation it suspects could disproportionately benefit Democrats in November’s election, the organization exclusively told the DCNF. The SBA’s voter registration operations in Michigan are part of Executive Order 14019, which compels federal agencies to develop a plan to promote voter engagement and participation, sparking concerns from some conservatives that public funds may be used to help Democrats in the looming general election.

“Based on some of the evidence we’ve seen, there is absolutely cause for concern that the Biden administration’s SBA is targeting certain demographics as part of its partisan voter registration effort,” AFPI executive director for litigation Mike Berry told the DCNF. “For example, there is evidence to suggest that the SBA’s largest presence is in the Michigan counties with the highest concentrations of registered Democrat voters, while at the same time it is least active in the Michigan counties with the highest concentrations of small businesses and registered Republican voters per capita.”(RELATED: Biden Admin Weighed Using ‘School Children’ To Help Register Dem-Leaning Voters, Emails Show)

AFPI is seeking communications between the White House, SBA and Michigan officials through a Freedom of Information Act request, one staffer told the DCNF. The organization is also trying to obtain documents related to the plan’s implementation.

The White House met with representatives from left-of-center organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, Campaign Legal Center, the League of Women Voters and Fair Fight Action, a political advocacy group affiliated with failed Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, to discuss how to implement Executive Order 14019, according to internal documents obtained by the Foundation for Government Accountability.

Attendees at the meeting discussed registering newly-naturalized immigrants, advancing voting rights for those in prison and ensuring voting materials were accessible to people who speak languages other than English, the documents show. Erica Teasley Linnick, a senior program officer at the George Soros-backed Open Society Policy Center, attended the meeting as well.

Internal Department of the Interior communications first reported on by the DCNF showed that the Biden administration was considering using Native American children to get their parents registered to vote ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Native Americans favor the Democratic Party at the ballot box and have been credited with delivering victories to Democrats in some races.

Spanx founder Sara Blakely, U.S. President Joe Biden, Lip Bar founder and CEO Melissa Butler, Small Business Administrator leader Isabella Casillas Guzman and ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The SBA’s program in Michigan will create a webpage encouraging those visiting its website to register to vote and authorize the agency’s field office to allow Michigan Department of State officials to conduct in-person voter registration at small business outreach events, according to the agency.

“The SBA’s actions to register voters in Michigan under the guise of small business support are a ridiculous use of resources at best and a violation of the Hatch Act at worst,” AFPI chairwoman Linda McMahon, a former SBA administrator, said in a statement. (McMahon has donated to the DCNF.)

The Hatch Act limits federal employees from engaging in certain political activities to ensure that federal programs are carried out in a nonpartisan manner, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. Congressional Republicans and conservative organizations have echoed McMahon’s concerns that Biden’s executive order may violate that law.

“Executive Order 14019 seems designed to target voters that are more likely to vote Democrat,” Foundation for Government Accountability legal director Stewart Whitson told the Daily Signal, arguing that it could violate the Hatch Act. “Voter participation means voter mobilization. If the federal employees are engaged in getting people to the polls, that is political activity.”

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Bryan Steil, chair of the House Administration Committee, issued subpoenas to 15 Biden Cabinet officials in June requesting documents pertaining to their respective agencies’ responses to Biden’s executive order, Roll Call reported.

“We can hope that the SBA will remain nonpartisan in their voter registration efforts but given their focus on a swing state like Michigan, we see no guarantee of that,” McMahon said. “When I served as SBA administrator, our focus was on empowering small businesses and growing our economy — not blatant electioneering,”

Michigan is one of several key swing states that Republican and Democratic strategists expect to decide the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.

The SBA did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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