Congress is investigating voter suppression — and the GOP is outraged

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Republicans in Congress are livid that Congress would investigate states for racist voter suppression efforts.

Republicans are freaking out that Congress is currently investigating voter suppression efforts in states including Georgia, Texas, and Kansas.

In an attempt to cover-up for any voter suppression efforts taking place, Republicans led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent letters on Monday that appear to discourage states from working with the ongoing congressional investigation.

In nearly identical letters to six officials in the three states mentioned above, Jordan states without evidence that the investigations do not "appear to have valid legislative purpose," and subsequently whining that the letters were sent by the Democratic majority without consulting with the Republican minority.

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In a separate letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chair of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), chair of the Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Jordan and his colleagues purport to question the legitimacy and ability of Congress to even investigate numerous credible allegations of voter suppression.

In fact, the letter says Cummings and Raskin should focus on "bettering the lives of American people" — as if exercising the right to vote is somehow not important to the lives of American people.

All the letters were also signed by Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX), Jody Hice (R-GA), and Michael Cloud (R-TX).

The lies by Jordan and his colleagues did not sit well with Raskin, who is taking the lead on some of the investigations.

"The U.S. Congress has the power and obligation to enforce the voting rights of the people as spelled out in the 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution," Raskin, a former constitutional law professor, said in a Monday statement in response to Jordan's letter.

Raskin says the investigations are "obviously within our power," and moreover, part of Congress' "solemn duty" to look into "state-based assaults on popular democracy."

Raskin calls out his "indignant colleagues" for putting forth laughably "frivolous arguments" against the investigations. He reminds Jordan and the GOP that under the Republican majority, Republican leaders stated that the Oversight Committee has "broad authority to investigate 'any matter' at 'any time under House Rule X.'"

Raskin and Cummings are investigating a slew of voter suppression allegations in the three states in question.

In Georgia, former Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, spent years targeting primarily African American citizens for voter suppression efforts. The voter suppression efforts helped him win a narrow victory in the 2018 race for governor over Stacey Abrams, who would have been Georgia's first black female governor.

In Kansas, a county clerk moved the only polling location in Dodge City to a site difficult to access by public transportation.

In Texas, Republican officials made news after falsely claiming nearly 100,000 voters were illegally on the voter rolls. A federal judge said the "ham-handed" way Republican officials handled the situation abused the "power of government to strike fear and anxiety and to intimidate the least powerful among us."

Cummings replied to Jordan's letter in a statement to TPM, saying, "With a Democratic President, there was no allegation too small to investigate, but now that Donald Trump is in the White House, there is apparently no scandal too big to ignore."

He's right. Republicans are still opting to encourage states to cover-up voter suppression efforts and attack those who are trying to ensure democracy includes the voices of all people, rather than fighting for the most foundational right in a democracy — the right to vote.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.