Cummings Ramps Up Investigation of Voter Suppression Allegations
Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a new letter to Catherine Engelbrecht, President and Founder of True the Vote, requesting documents relating to the group’s plan to deploy hundreds of thousands of personnel across the country on Election Day to challenge access to the polls for people they believe should not be allowed to vote.
“There have been reports from multiple states during the past two years that your organization is targeting predominantly minority communities and coordinating with the Republican Party in an attempt to intimidate legitimate voters,” wrote Cummings.
Cummings’ letter follows a previous letter on October 4, 2012, requesting documents relating to allegations that True the Vote and its affiliated organizations have been challenging the registration of thousands of legitimate voters across the country based on insufficient, inaccurate, and faulty evidence. Cummings’ letter notes that True the Vote has declined to produce a single document.
“If you are truly committed to transparency in our nation’s voting process—and if you continue to deny that your organization is challenging thousands of legitimate voters across the country for partisan political purposes—then you should have no reason to withhold documents from Congress about your activities,” wrote Cummings.
True the Vote was seen previously here.
This is another article, second in a series, about what True the Vote has been up to.
True the Vote insists it has no partisan interests and no racial bias; it’s simply trying to ensure election integrity. But that is hard to square with its rhetoric and actions.
True the Vote began in Harris County, Texas (home of Houston), as a project of the local King Street Patriots, one of the thousands of Tea Party groups that cropped up around the country in 2009. The King Street Patriots’ (KSP) formation, like that of its many counterparts, seemed to be a direct response to the election of the nation’s first black president. Engelbrecht herself doesn’t quite put it that way. After years of being apolitical, ‘something clicked’ in 2008, she told The New York Times.
In addition to True the Vote itself, there are numerous state-level organizations that call themselves ‘empowered’ by True the Vote; these groups, out of the public eye, are sometimes more overt in their partisan sympathies. The groups are not legally affiliated with True the Vote, and a few have opted to get a 501(c)(4) status with the IRS to allow more latitude in political advocacy. Others have sought the same, stricter 501(c)(3) status that True the Vote is currently requesting from the IRS. Still others aren’t registered with the IRS at all. The groups vary in how overtly they discuss partisanship.
Along with charges of being partisan, True the Vote has also been accused of overt racism. The group seems to target its appeals to white voters who feel that advocates for people of color have gone too far. White victimhood is a consistent theme in their rhetoric. When he came to a group meeting in 2010, [David] Horowitz warned the audience: ‘They hate you. They think you’re a racist because you’re a Republican.’
Please work quickly, Representative Cummings.