Top watchdog sues Biden agency after stonewalling on ‘electioneering activities’ with key swing state

The Small Business Administration has been sued by a top government watchdog group for responding to public records requests by stonewalling.

This move by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project and its executive director, Mike Howell, comes about a week after House Committee on Small Business chair Roger Williams subpoenaed two SBA employees in response to the SBA refusing “to comply with the Committee’s ongoing investigation into potential electioneering activities by the SBA,” according to a press release from Williams.

“The fact that we are having to issue subpoenas to speak with SBA officials is extremely disappointing,” Williams said in a statement at the time. “The committee has given these two individuals the opportunity to speak with us voluntarily, but this appears to be the only way to get them to comply with our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities.”

“The American people deserve answers and transparency on the electioneering activities of the SBA and how they have or plan to insert themselves in the upcoming federal elections. The SBA’s sole mission is to help Main Street thrive and grow, and they have repeatedly strayed from that mission to pursue outside political objectives. It’s unfortunate that we have arrived at this point, but this Committee is determined to get answers on behalf of the American people,” he added.

What “electioneering activities” exactly has SBA been conducting? According to Fox News, the agency has been making an effort “to funnel resources to help register swing state voters.”

This activity was discovered in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that the SBA entered with Michigan’s Secretary of State to register voters.

Republicans wanted an explanation for this, but the agency refused to provide it, so the Oversight Project sued.

The lawsuit reportedly accuses the SBA of ignoring an April 23rd Freedom of Information request related to the memo.

“In the filing, Howell’s team called the request a ‘matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exists possible questions about the government’s integrity which affect public confidence,'” Fox News notes.

Speaking with Fox News, Oversight Project chief counsel Kyle Brosnan reportedly echoed Howell’s point, arguing there’s a public interest in analyzing government-run in-voting voter registration events.

All this comes two months after the SBA reportedly announced its “first-ever” voter registration agreement with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office.

“President Biden’s executive order 14019, on ‘Promoting Access to Voting,’ was the keystone of the coordination, which led to concerns the agency was being used to register voters in a partisan manner in a key swing state,” according to Fox News.

“Based on what I’ve seen in public reporting, the Small Business Administration has not complied with Congress’ document requests,” Williams told Fox News. “And, the committee subpoenaed these two SBA officials for depositions later this month after they did not appear for voluntary transcribed interviews.”

“It’s curious that the Small Business Administration has entered an agreement with the Michigan secretary of state in this context, with the election this year,” he added.

He continued by claiming his committee has “been working hard to hold the SBA accountable for improperly involving themselves in federal elections.”

“The SBA’s mission of helping Main Street grow and thrive is simple, yet extremely important to our country,” he said. “Unfortunately, they seem to be dedicating energy to serve as President Biden’s campaign arm to register Democrat voters in Michigan.”

He noted that such behavior is a “slap in the face” to struggling small business owners.

In announcing the March voter registration event, SBA administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman reportedly said “protecting and strengthening our democracy is critical to our economic success and a core goal of the Biden-Harris administration,” and that helping Michigan residents register to vote would somehow help small business owners exercise their own voting rights.

Speaking with Fox News, Brosnan reportedly referenced a similar agreement from September made with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Michigan to designate two Detroit properties and one Saginaw VA property as voter registration sites.

“When reached for comment on the lawsuit, the top Democrat on Williams’ panel, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., expressed dismay at the subpoenas her committee recently issued, telling Fox News Digital in a statement that her committee has otherwise ‘prided itself in bipartisan cooperation to help American entrepreneurs,'” Fox News notes.

Vivek Saxena

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