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Exclusive: House Republicans Probe Education Department’s ‘Partisan’ Bidenbucks Scheme

The Education Department’s use of Federal Work-Study funds ‘to support the Administration’s campaign efforts seems designed to heighten voters’ already existing distrust in the system.’

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House Republicans are demanding the Department of Education forfeit information and records related to its use of taxpayer dollars to conduct partisan get-out-the-vote efforts that benefit Democrats, The Federalist has learned.

In their Tuesday letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, senior Republicans on the House Administration Committee and the Education and Workforce Committee pressed the Biden appointee over the agency’s use of Federal Work-Study (FWS) funds — which are used to provide part-time campus jobs to help students with tuition costs — to “support the Biden Administration’s campaign efforts during the 2024 election cycle.” The letter’s signatories include GOP Reps. Bryan Steil of Wisconsin, Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, Laurel Lee of Florida, and Mary Miller of Illinois. Steil and Foxx chair the House Administration and Education and the Workforce Committees, respectively.

As The Federalist’s M.D. Kittle recently reported, the Education Department issued a memo on Feb. 26, “as a follow-up to a 2022 ‘Dear Colleague’ letter, clarifying that Federal Work-Study (FWS) funds may be used to support ‘broad-based get-out-the-vote activities, voter registration, providing voter assistance at a polling place or through a voter hotline, or serving as a poll worker.'” The agency also released a “toolkit” that includes guidelines for universities on how to increase voter registration and turnout on their campuses.

The recently announced policy is a shift from the agency’s 2022 guidance, which explicitly stated that public universities are prohibited from using FWS funds “for work involving partisan or nonpartisan political activity, including party-affiliated voter registration activities.” It’s worth mentioning that college-age voters (aged 18-29) broke for Democrat candidates over Republican ones by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in the 2022 midterms.

“The Department of Education’s … currently stated position about the use of FWS funds under the Higher Education Act of 1965 and regulations is at odds with the Department’s interpretation just two years ago, despite no underlying changes to the regulations or law governing the FWS program,” the Republicans’ letter reads. “In addition to this action appearing to be partisan and political, your new interpretation raises serious legal questions, and we urge the Administration to retract its recent memorandum.”

The new policy comes as part of the agency’s attempt to comply with Executive Order 14019, an overreaching directive signed by Biden in March 2021 that instructed hundreds of federal agencies to interfere in the electoral process by using U.S. taxpayer money to boost voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities. More specifically, federal departments were told to collaborate with so-called “nonpartisan third-party organizations” that have been “approved” by the administration to supply “voter registration services on agency premises.”

Despite the administration’s attempt to stonewall requests for — and heavily redact — documents related to the order’s implementation, conservative media outlets and good government groups have obtained communications revealing that many of the supposedly “nonpartisan” groups colluding with federal agencies on voter registration efforts are extremely left-wing, such as the ACLU and Demos.

House Republicans noted how the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is the only federal agency authorized by Congress to handle issues related to election administration and that even if Congress had “authorized taxpayer dollars to be used for get-out-the-vote activities, it likely would have done so in a clear way in [the Help America Vote Act of 2002], not through broad language like the FWS’s ‘public interest’ requirement.” They also highlighted that the EAC “has ruled that HAVA funds cannot be used for get-out-the-vote activities.”

“For Americans to have confidence not only in their elections but also in their federal government, taxpayer dollars should not be used for political ends like get-out-the-vote activities or targeted voter registration drives,” the letter reads. “As we approach a presidential election this November, we must take steps to bolster voters’ confidence in our election systems and processes so they can have faith in the results. Unfortunately, the Department’s plan to use FWS funds to support the Administration’s campaign efforts seems designed to heighten voters’ already existing distrust in the system in a time when we can least afford it.”

As part of their inquiry into Biden’s election interference, House Republicans requested Cardona provide their committees with “all internal memos, reports, and information that discuss” the agency’s issuance of the February memo, including records related to “requests to review and clarify the Department’s position with respect to employment of FWS students in voter registration activities by public entities.” The committees additionally demanded Cardona disclose whether the department’s February memo is “a clarification of” or replaces the agency’s 2022 memo; how the agency defines “political activity”; and who the agency “consult[ed] with or [sought] guidance from in promulgating and developing” the February memo.

House Republicans have also requested the Education Department provide committee members with an in-person briefing “no later than two weeks after the date of this letter” and provide the requested answers and documents by March 26.

Speaking with The Federalist, Steil said the Education Department’s FWS policy is just “the latest effort by the Biden Administration to influence our elections” and emphasized that “taxpayer dollars should never be used by the Administration for get-out-the-vote efforts, registration drives, or any other partisan purpose.” Foxx echoed similar sentiments, saying Biden’s flailing approval rating is “why he’s resorted to misusing the Federal Work-Study program to turn out new voters for his own personal gain.”

“It’s about as crooked as it gets. Every time I think this administration can’t stoop any lower, I’m proven wrong,” Foxx said. 

Biden Work Study GOTV Lette… by The Federalist


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