(WASHINGTON, DC.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, issued the following statement in response to “federalism concerns” raised by Oversight Committee Members Jim Jordan (R-OH), Jody Hice (R-GA), Michael Cloud (R-TX), and Chip Roy (R-TX) regarding the Committee’s voter suppression probe:
“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, a power we have exercised repeatedly in statutes like the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Americans with Disabilities Act to shut down state action hostile to democratic participation.
“It is our solemn duty today to investigate state-based assaults on popular democracy like the reported purges of hundreds of thousands of voters and the relocation of municipal polling places outside of municipal boundaries. It is obviously within our power under the Supremacy Clause and the Bill of Rights to conduct constitutional oversight in order to protect voters’ rights in the states, resistance by partisan state officials notwithstanding.
“My indignant colleagues should review prior letters the Oversight Committee sent in parallel correspondence to Democratic state officials in Rhode Island, Maryland, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Minnesota, Colorado, Connecticut, and Nevada in 2014 when the GOP-led Committee was conducting an oversight investigation into the Affordable Care Act (a federal law which they still seek to destroy). In these letters, then-Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and then-Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan articulated the decisive refutation to today’s frivolous argument: ‘The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee of the House of Representatives and has broad authority to investigate ‘any matter at ‘any time’ under House Rule X.’”
“It would be best if our GOP colleagues joined us in protecting voting rights, but at the very least they should stop trying to prevent us from doing our constitutionally-mandated work. Far from raising the ‘federalism concerns’ of Reps. Jordan, Hice, Cloud, and Roy, this is serious federalism in action. Our colleagues should get used to it.”