- - Monday, March 22, 2021

Democrats euphemistically call H.R. 1 the “For the People Act.” Republicans call it what it really is: “The Democratic Politician Protection Act.”

It’s hardly hyperbole to say that H.R. 1 would radically change election rules in ways that would effectively impose permanent, one-party Democratic-majority rule on the country. As such, it’s no coincidence that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, designated the bill H.R. 1, the very first bill out of the gate in the 117th Congress.

The bill passed the House on March 3 on a 220-210 party-line vote with no Republican support and just one Democrat against it. It now goes to the Senate.

Much has already been written about how H.R. 1 would quadruple down on everything that caused the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election to be contested so adamantly. It calls for vastly more voting by mail, absentee balloting, and ballot harvesting, and for doing away with voter-ID requirements and absentee-ballot signature verification, among many other things.

But largely overlooked is another baleful provision of H.R. 1, one that would effectively weaponize the heretofore bipartisan Federal Election Commission — in Democrats’ favor, of course, since they fully expect to control it if H.R. 1 becomes law.

Nine former commissioners of the FEC recently wrote to Mrs. Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Repubican, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, denouncing H.R. 1, but limiting their criticism to provisions that “concern the jurisdiction of the FEC.”

The nine letter-writers served a combined total of 60 years on the FEC between 1985 and 2020, so they know whereof they speak.

“Title VI [of H.R. 1] would transform the FEC from a bipartisan, six-member body to a five-member body subject to, and indeed designed for, partisan control,” they wrote.

“Proponents claim this radical change is necessary to prevent ‘deadlock’ on the commission and assure efficient operations. This perception of perpetual deadlock is incorrect.” The letter noted peer-reviewed studies found that 3-3 vote partisan deadlocks occurred in just 1% to 6% of FEC votes.

The commission’s current makeup, three Republicans and three Democrats, and its voting structure requiring some “bipartisan agreement before an enforcement action [goes] forward or a rule [is] adopted,” the letter-writers say, is “indispensable” for ensuring that the FEC isn’t seen as a partisan tool of the majority party.

Title VI of H.R. 1 “would lead to more partisanship in enforcement and in regulatory matters, shattering public confidence in the decisions of the FEC,” the ex-commissioners explained.

“If Congress wanted to destroy confidence in the fairness of American elections, it is hard to imagine a better first step than to eviscerate the FEC’s bipartisan structure.”

But that presumes that the proponents of H.R. 1 are interested in preserving the fairness of American elections. It’s quite the opposite.

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