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Republicans To Small Business Administration On ‘Bidenbucks’ Coverup: Stop Stonewalling

‘It’s beyond disturbing that senior leaders at Biden’s SBA are using our hard-earned tax dollars to register voters,’ said Sen. Joni Ernst.


The arguably least transparent administration in history continues to stonewall lawmakers trying to get answers about “Bidenbucks,” President Joe Biden’s unprecedented use of federal agencies to drive a massive get-out-the-vote campaign targeting Democrats. 

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, ranking member on the Senate’s Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said it was “beyond disturbing” that Biden’s Small Business Administration (SBA) is using untold amounts of taxpayer money to register voters and participate in politically motivated travel.

“I came to Washington to make bureaucrats squeal, and I won’t sit idly by as Biden officials shirk their responsibilities and hide their misdoings from Congress,” Ernst said in a statement to The Federalist. “As Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I will continue fighting tooth and nail to hold the SBA accountable.”

Ernst and Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, have demanded answers about the SBA’s involvement in a voter registration effort in Michigan, one of several swing states expected to play a significant role in electing the next president. As The Federalist reported in March, the Michigan Department of State signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the SBA “to promote civic engagement and voter registration in Michigan.” The agreement, according to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, is a “first-of-its-kind collaboration” for the federal agency. 

The partnership is expected to run through Jan. 1, 2036. That is if legal challenges can’t stop the apparently unconstitutional “understanding.” 

Guzman insists that weaponizing the full force of the federal government to turn out voters for Biden and his big-government allies is all about “protecting and strengthening our democracy.” The federal bureaucrat believes registering voters is suddenly under the purview of the Small Business Administration.

Last week, Rep. Williams subpoenaed Tyler Robinson, special adviser to the SBA’s administrator, and Arthur Plews, the administrator’s chief of staff, after SBA officials refused to comply with the Small Business Committee’s ongoing investigation into “potential engineering” activities. 

“The committee has given these two individuals the opportunity to speak with us voluntarily, but this appears to be the only way to get them to comply with our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities,” Williams said in a statement. “The American people deserve answers and transparency on the electioneering activities of the SBA and how they have or plan to insert themselves in the upcoming federal elections.”

‘Outside Political Objectives’

Michigan’s partnership with the SBA is part of Biden’s Executive Order 14019. Election integrity advocates have dubbed the order “Bidenbucks” — a nod to the “Zuckbucks” rolled out in the 2020 election. Signed within months of the Democrat’s narrow victories in election-deciding battleground states like Michigan, the executive order is benignly painted as “promoting access to voting.” It aims to do just that, but it targets traditionally left-leaning voters, election integrity advocates charge. 

As Tarren Bragdon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, wrote in a 2022 column in The Federalist, the order “directs all federal agencies to do what they can to increase voter registration and turnout, including by working with a select group of third-party organizations ‘approved’ by the White House.”

“Sounds harmless on its face, until you consider the fact that it is being carried out by political appointees whose job security literally depends on Democrats being reelected in 2022 and 2024, and that the person charged with collecting the plans and leading this effort is President Joe Biden’s domestic policy advisor, Susan Rice,” Bragdon wrote.

As Williams says, voter registration and GOTV campaigns aren’t the domain of federal agencies. The SBA, the congressman said, was created “to help Main Street thrive and grow, and they have repeatedly strayed from that mission to pursue outside political objectives.” 

A federal lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania state lawmakers argues Biden’s executive order infringes on their constitutional rights and responsibilities to operate elections without federal and state executive branch interference. “[A]ll agency action in conformity with [EO] 14019 is without congressional delegation or funding, and conducted merely by executive fiat,” the lawsuit asserts.

Biden’s order, the lawsuit alleges, has the force of changing Pennsylvania election law by taking away the state legislature’s powers and violating lawmakers’ federal civil rights under both the electors and elections clauses of the Constitution. After a lower court dismissed the case on grounds that the legislators lacked standing, the lawmakers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in. 

‘The Records Must Be Explosive’

As the Washington Examiner first reported last month, Ernst sent a letter to Guzman demanding answers following video footage by conservative activist James O’Keefe showing an adviser discussing how the SBA chief “travels across the country to help elect Democrats.”

“The senior advisor claims you are ‘the most traveled member of the cabinet’ and that your official travel is purposefully targeted to ‘indirectly campaign for Joe Biden’ in a way that attempts to circumvent the Hatch Act,” Ernst wrote in the letter. “Using taxpayer dollars in an attempt to engage in federal campaign activities is a gross abuse of official agency resources and needs to be further investigated.”

Ernst and Williams told the Examiner this week that the SBA officials continue to ignore their requests for documents and have failed to show up for a scheduled interview. Such recalcitrance continues to raise the question: What does the Biden administration have to hide? 

The Foundation for Government Accountability has been asking that question for over two years. 

In July 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ordered the Department of Justice to respond to FGA’s Freedom of Information Act request and “provide all documents required to be disclosed under FOIA law.” The DOJ finally coughed up 135 pages of documents, a fragment of the 5,500-plus records the department initially claimed to possess. The documents the department did turn over were heavily redacted, according to the foundation. 

“We’ve been trying to get these records for over three years. It’s now crystal clear the Department of Justice is trying to run out the clock until November to help Joe Biden stumble back into office,” said Madeline Malisa, senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability.

“Hiding public records from private citizens is bad enough. Stonewalling members of Congress — the ones holding oversight power and the purse strings — is an entirely different escalation,” Malisa added. “The records must be explosive; so explosive that Biden administration officials are willing to break the law to conceal them.”

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