Watchdog Barks for Records on Targeted Agency

WASHINGTON (CN) – As lawmakers work to eliminate the agency that fights the hacking of voting machines, a government watchdog brought a federal complaint Wednesday to obtain records on the plan.

“The proposed elimination of the EAC comes at a time when the intelligence and law enforcement communities have concluded Russia hacked the email system of the Democratic National Committee to obtain and publish information that would sway the election in favor of Donald Trump,” the 6-page complaint states, abbreviating the Election Assistance Commission.

Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says it filed a request on Feb. 9 under the Freedom of Information Act, requesting all communications involving the proposed legislation that the commission has had with the Executive Office of the President and congressional offices since Jan. 1.

Still awaiting a response, CREW says the agency has exceeded the time the law allows to determine which documents it plans to release.

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., is behind the Jan. 24 bill to terminate the agency, but CREW complains that he has offered no explanation why. During a preliminary vote on the proposed legislation, as quoted in the complaint, Harper said only that the reasons for the agency’s establishment have been resolved.

“He made this claim even though the EAC is the only federal agency with responsibility for ensuring the integrity of voting machines and the voting process, including preventing hacking,” the March 22 complaint states.

“At the state level, an official from the Department of Homeland Security confirmed last September that hackers also targeted voter registration systems in more than 20 states,” the lawsuit continues.

CREW notes that the Republican effort disregards claims of massive voter fraud by President Donald Trump, who suggested without evidence that millions of people voted illegally.

The bill would transfer the Election Assistance Commission’s functions to the Federal Election Commission.

Neither the Election Assistance Commissions nor Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington have responded to emails seeking comment.

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