The U.S. House’s main investigative committee had asked for documents and communications from state officials involved in the review.
Facing an investigation over the state’s botched efforts to screen its voter rolls for noncitizens, the Texas Attorney General’s Office is declining congressional leaders’ request for information about the review.
In a Thursday letter to top officials with the House’s main investigative committee, Jeffrey Mateer, the state’s first assistant attorney general, indicated the state was brushing off a request for documents and communications from the Texas secretary of state and attorney general because the committee lacks “oversight jurisdiction.”
Instead, Mateer wrote, the state will treat the congressional inquiry as a public information request under state law, which grants the Texas attorney general’s office broad control over what information can be withheld from the public.
“We do not interpret your letter to be a subpoena issued under applicable House Rules. Nor do we consider it a request for information under any applicable federal law,” Mateer said. “For the foregoing reasons, and because the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and its subcomittees lack oversight jurisdiction over constitutional officers of the State of Texas, we must interpret your request under Texas state law.”
The response comes two weeks after U.S. Reps. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, informed state leaders that the committee had launched an investigation into the state’s review of the voter rolls for supposed noncitizens, through which officials flagged almost 100,000 registered voters as suspect voters.
The review has been mired in controversy and missteps since late January when it was revealed that lawmakers had mistakenly questioned the citizenship status of a quarter of the people on the list. As part of the review, some naturalized citizens on the state’s list began receiving letters demanding they prove their citizenship within 30 days to avoid being purged from the rolls.
Those efforts, which landed the state in federal court, have since been halted over a federal judge’s concerns that the review targeted naturalized citizens. But the state’s missteps continued when it mistakenly sent out additional names of voters to counties weeks later because of a technical error it blamed on a vendor.
“We are disturbed by reports that your office has taken steps to remove thousands of eligible American voters from the rolls in Texas and that you have referred many of these Americans for possible criminal prosecution for exercising their right to vote,” the congressmen wrote to top state officials in late March.
A spokesperson for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the AG’s letter. But in announcing the Texas investigation — part of a broader probe of voting irregularities in multiple states — Cummings and Raskin cited their authority to investigate “any matter” at “any time” under the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The committee has the authority to issue subpoenas. Raskin chairs a subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties.
Civil and voting rights advocates, Democratic lawmakers and naturalized citizens swept up in the review hailed the congressional investigation as a necessary audit of state leaders’ decisions to conduct the review when they knew it would affect naturalized citizens.
But the AG’s defiance is unsurprising. State officials have continued to back the voter review efforts even as widespread errors emerged, saying federal and state laws require them to maintain accurate voter rolls.
Trump’s attacks on Biden’s mental fitness just draw attention to his own problems: Joy Reid panel
MSNBC host Joy Reid gave some helpful advice to President Donald Trump and his children, who frequently attack former Vice President Joe Biden for his mental health: It makes you look worse.
Speaking to her closing Wednesday panel with Jason Johnson and Howard Fineman, Reid showed a super-cut of Trump's knack for getting words wrong, not knowing how to pronounce simple things, slurring his words, stumbling down the stairs, not knowing where to go, dragging his feet and more.
"Well, you know, my pretext for all my students this fall will be: person, woman, man, camera, tv, and if they can do that, I know they're at least as smart as the president," joked Johnson. "Here's the thing. Joe Biden demonstrated that he literally can ride a bike and do something else at the same time. Like, I have always thought the argument that Joe Biden has lost a step or has some sort of mental deficiency was a complete lie. It's Republicans just projecting. What's important to remember is that no matter how much they spout this nonsense, every single time Donald Trump opens his mouth, he looks worse. There is nothing Joe Biden can say that is more foolish or incoherent than Donald Trump in the middle of a substantive interview."
Here’s how Trump’s ‘nasty’ jab at Kamala reveals his misunderstanding of women
President Donald Trump has reprised one of his most common attacks on women — "nasty" — to describe Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
On Wednesday, writing for The New York Times, Katie Rogers broke down how the president's continual attacks on women in politics — combined with his characterization of women voters — reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of modern gender norms.
Congresswoman criticizes Republican press guy for claim Black folks don’t care about Kamala Harris: Does he know any?
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) hilariously mocked former press secretary Ari Fleischer, who worked for former President George W. Bush's White House. Fleischer claimed Black people won't be that excited about Sen. Kamala Harris on the ticket.
"She's just not that historically exciting to African-Americans," said Fleischer speaking to Laura Ingraham during a Fox News appearance after the announcement.
During a conversation with MSNBC's Joy Reid, the host called Fleischer "a sort of a bygone era Republican voice" and asked Bass to listen to his comments.
"I wonder how many African-Americans," asked Bass, chuckling.