Sunday, April 14, 2024

USDA Colludes With Left-Wing Group to Turn Out Voters Under Biden Order, Documents Reveal

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with a left-wing advocacy group to boost voter turnout as part of President Joe Biden’s executive order directing federal agencies to get involved in elections.

The USDA worked directly with Demos, a New York-based group that helped draft Biden’s Executive Order 14019, according to records obtained by The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.) 

Biden signed his order on agencies and voter registration in March 2021. On Aug. 9, 2021, Demos’ Adam Lioz emailed USDA officials, many in the office of Secretary Tom Vilsack, under the subject line: “Demos Meeting on Voting Rights EO.”

“Team USDA, with apologies for the delay, I wanted to follow up and thank you all for all your time and a productive conversation,” wrote Lioz, who was Demos’ senior counsel and political director before departing in September 2021. “As we noted, we’ll have our ‘best practices’ slides ready in the next 1-2 weeks and in the meantime, y’all had asked for data on voter registration at the state level, which I’ve pasted below.” 

Lioz, now a senior policy counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, continued: “We’re eager to schedule follow up conversations to dig into specific programs and help with integration in any way we can. Just let us know when you are available for that.”

My book “The Myth of Voter Suppression” details how Demos helped develop Executive Order 10419 in December 2020, weeks before Biden was inaugurated. The book also exposes the extent to which the order directed public agencies to be involved in what Republican lawmakers have called a partisan get-out-the-vote operation.

“Biden has turned the entire federal government into a leftist voter-turnout operation,” Tom Fitton, president of the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, said of the documents in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

As The Daily Signal previously reported, the Biden administration carved out paid administrative leave to encourage federal bureaucrats and other employees—seen as a loyal Democrat constituency—to volunteer as poll workers during elections. 

The Daily Signal also reported that federal agencies are working with Demos and other liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union

Biden’s initiative includes the Department of Homeland Security’s registration of voters during naturalization ceremonies, the Department of Education’s promotion of voting at high schools and colleges, and agencies’ work with private, nonprofit organizations to increase voter turnout. 

Many congressional Republicans have joined government watchdog groups in expressing concern about agencies’ engaging in partisan political activity under Biden’s executive order, in violation of laws such as the Hatch Act. 

The records obtained by Heritage’s Oversight Project include the USDA’s directions to employees on how to avoid violating the Hatch Act. 

Neither the Department of Agriculture nor Demos responded to inquiries from The Daily Signal before publication of this report.