Top Republican says House investigation into voter suppression exceeds authority

Bryan Lowry and David Lightman, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- The top Republican on a House committee investigating voter suppression told election officials in Kansas, Georgia and Texas that the committee has exceeded its authority with information requests sent to those states.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, sent letters Monday to election officials in the three states that described the Democratic-led investigation as partisan and beyond the bounds of Congress' oversight power.

Jordan's letter comes after Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the House Oversight chair, sent records requests to election officials in the three states last month. The committee plans to look at at least four or five states, and could subpoena witnesses in its probe of possible voter suppression.

Cummings has previously told McClatchy the probe is focused on states considered to have "the most egregious situations."

Texas officials balked at Cummings' request, but Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab's office said Monday that it has already responded.

"We have fulfilled the committee's request," said Katie Koupal, spokeswoman for Schwab. "We've provided the applicable information. They requested the communications and we provided them with what we had on record."


In Kansas, Cummings sought communications between former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office and Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox about the 2018 decision to move Dodge City's only polling site outside the limits of the majority Latino city.

Jordan's letter states that Republicans on the committee were not consulted before the request.

"As articulated by the chairman, their inquiry does not appear to have a valid legislative purpose and instead seeks confidential communications among state officials, including state law enforcement officials, regarding the enforcement of state law," the letter from Jordan and three other Republicans on the committee states.

Schwab's office said last month that it was in the process of responding to the committee's requests, which deal with communications between Ford County and Schwab's predecessor, Kobach, who ran unsuccessfully for governor.


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