WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), and Government Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-Ga.) issued the following statements on the appointment of California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to Kamala Harris’ Senate seat:
“Alex Padilla’s actions as California Secretary of State raise serious ethical and legal questions and we must have answers immediately before he is entrusted with representing all citizens of California in the U.S. Senate and safeguarding taxpayer dollars,” said Ranking Member Comer. “As California Secretary of State, Mr. Padilla fast-tracked a no-bid contract to a pro-Biden firm, which appears to have enabled Democrat operatives to contact voters and have access to sensitive voter information. This likely is a violation of the law and is a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars. I urge the Election Assistance Commission and the Inspector General again to investigate this unlawful contract and protect Americans’ hard-earned dollars from being used to enrich Mr. Padilla’s political allies. In the meantime, the House Oversight Committee will continue to examine further steps to ensure Mr. Padilla is held accountable for his actions.”
“Before anyone should trust Secretary of State Alex Padilla being promoted to a U.S. Senator, there are serious questions that he needs to answer about his use of federal funding California received through the CARES Act to help states administer the 2020 elections,” said Ranking Member Davis. “There’s documentation that Secretary Padilla entered into a $35-million, no-bid contract with a Biden consulting firm and tried to use this funding improperly for get-out-the-vote efforts. The people of California deserve to know what happened with this funding, why it wasn’t used to prevent some of the major issues the state experienced during the 2020 election cycle, and why the Secretary of State would enter into such a blatantly political contract. I continue to encourage the EAC IG to investigate this matter, but in the meantime, it’s troubling that Governor Newsom would not want answers to these questions before appointing him to the U.S. Senate.”
“Secretary of State Padilla would begin his tenure in the Senate with serious questions hanging over him. Californians and indeed all Americans deserve to know the truth before he is further entrusted with taxpayer dollars,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Hice.
Earlier this year, Secretary Padilla awarded a $35 million no-bid contract to SKD Knickerbocker, Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firm. Documents obtained by Oversight Republicans appear to show that the Secretary of State’s Office attempted to inappropriately fund the contract with federal Help America Vote Act money from the CARES Act to target specific voters and encourage voting, which is a violation of the law. According to a media report, Secretary Padilla has received $34 million worth of invoices from SKD for the voter contact contract, but the California State Controller’s Office says he lacks the state budget authority to pay for it.
Comer, Davis, and Hice have called on the Election Assistance Commission Inspector General to investigate this contract and also called on Secretary Padilla to provide answers. To date, the EAC IG has not launched an investigation and Secretary Padilla has not provided answers. The Republican members have also called on the State of California to return all federal money to the U.S. Treasury that Secretary Padilla is attempting to use to pay for this unlawful contract.