House Committee Moves to Shut Election Assistance Agency, End Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns

Common Cause, Allies Denounce Actions

Posted by Dale Eisman on February 8, 2017


Today In Democracy

Seventeen intelligence and law enforcement agencies agree that Russian operatives hacked into U.S. political party and state voter registration computer systems. On Super Bowl Sunday, President Trump told a national TV audience that voter registration rolls across America are brimming with the names of people ineligible to vote and that a commission headed by the vice president will study the problem..

So on Tuesday, a House committee voted to shut down the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), an important but obscure federal agency created to help states modernize and protect their voting and registration systems.

Amazing, isn't it?

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., chairman of the House Administration Committee, said the EAC has “outlived" his usefulness. His committee also voted Tuesday to eliminate the public-financing system for presidential elections dating back to the 1970s.

The EAC "is the only federal agency charged with making sure voting machines can’t be hacked," The Nation magazine observed. Congress created that agency after the disastrous 2000 election in Florida to rectify problems like butterfly ballots and hanging chads. Harper and other Republicans have made several attempts to kill the commission.

Common Cause and 37 other reform-minded groups, including the NAACP and the Brennan Center for Justice, denounced the committee action. “In light of the many challenges faced by our state and local election administrators and the serious procedural problems that weaken voter access and participation, we believe that this is a time to reaffirm our commitment to voting rights and fair elections by strengthening the EAC,” they wrote.

Read Common Cause’s press release on the committee action here.

Read the letter from 38 groups urging lawmakers to preserve the EAC and the presidential public financing system here.

 

She filed a $150 million lawsuit on Monday over a published report suggesting – falsely – that she once worked for an escort service and said the story deprived her of "major business opportunities" growing out of her new status as America's first lady, but Melania Trump insisted Tuesday that she has no intention of profiting from her husband's presidency.

“It is not a possibility,” said statements issued simultaneously Tuesday by a spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump and a law firm representing her. “Any statements to the contrary are being misinterpreted.”

The Washington Post reported that neither the White House nor a lawyer representing the first lady were answering questions about the statements, which fly in the face of Mrs. Trump's legal pleadings in a federal district court in Manhattan.

The Post said the suit "did not detail a specific plan by Trump to market products during her tenure as first lady." But the pleadings claim the article published last August in the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, hurt her reputation in the midst of a “multi-year term” of elevated publicity and “impugned her fitness to perform her duties” as first lady.

Melania Trump had a successful career as a model before marrying Donald Trump in 2005. Her husband's refusal to put his multi-billion dollar holdings in a blind trust has triggered charges that his public duties could conflict with his personal interests.

 

President Trump’s promise to keep hands off of his business empire while he serves as President apparently does not extend to his daughter Ivanka’s entrepreneurial efforts.

USA Today reports that the President is Tweeting his displeasure this morning at the Nordstrom department store chain’s decision to discontinue Ivanka Trump’s fashion line of shoes and accessories.

“My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” the President wrote.

Nordstrom indicated the brand's "performance" wasn't up to expectations, the newspaper said

"We've said all along we make buying decisions based on performance. We’ve got thousands of brands – more than 2,000 offered on the site alone. Reviewing their merit and making edits is part of the regular rhythm of our business," a statement by the retailer said last week.

The New York Times is reporting today that other retailers are changing their relationships with Trump brands. TJ Maxx and Marshall's have removed featured displays of Ivanka Trump merchandise and mixed it into racks with other brands, the paper said.

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Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Voting and Elections, Ethics

Tags: Executive Ethics, Protect The Vote, Voting Rights

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