Skip to main content
Press Release Published: Mar 18, 2021

Top Republicans Raise Alarm Over Election Assistance Commission’s Ability to Protect Taxpayers

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.) today wrote the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to learn more about its policies and procedures used to distribute and oversee $825 million in grant funding during 2020. 

In the letter, the lawmakers question EAC’s ability to oversee the hundreds of millions of dollars awarded in grants given then-California Secretary of State Alex Padilla awarded a $35 million contract to SKD Knickerbocker, Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firm, to contact voters. Republican leaders have repeatedly urged EAC Inspector General Patricia Layfield to investigate the highly questionable contact, but she has not launched an investigation despite ample evidence the contract likely violated federal law.  

“This past election, the Election Assistance Commission was tasked with stewarding nearly a billion dollars of taxpayer money. We’ve uncovered a highly questionable contract awarded to a pro-Biden firm to contact voters. To date, the agency and its Inspector General have refused to take action. This raises serious concerns about additional, potentially uncovered, improper spending. Congress must hold the EAC accountable for the distribution of taxpayer dollars and ensure its procedures work in the best interest of the American people—that includes returning unused grant money to the Treasury,” said Ranking Member Comer. 

“Congress provided federal funding to help states with the added costs of running elections during a pandemic in 2020 and if then-California Secretary of State Alex Padilla improperly used this funding, that’s a major issue and taxpayers’ deserve an investigation. We need to be able to trust that the EAC can oversee the funding that is sent to states to ensure it is being used properly and in accordance with the law,” said Ranking Member Davis.

“Federal taxpayer dollars should be used in the interest of all Americans, not to benefit one candidate or political party over another. Folks deserve to know why their hard-earned money was funneled into a California political operation firmly backing Joe Biden’s campaign. We have been pushing for months to get the Elections Assistance Commission and the Inspector General to take this seriously, but they refuse to even open an investigation. We will not allow this to be slipped under the rug,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Hice.

The full letter is available here.