ICYMI – Witnesses Warn Against Political Power Grabs Akin to the Maduro Regime

March 24, 2021

WASHINGTON – United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today attended both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing and the Senate Rules Committee hearing where witnesses in both discussed the dangers and disenfranchisement that arise when political leaders attempt to use their power to change the rules to stay in power, as we have seen with the Maduro regime in Venezuela. Shockingly, however, this type of craven power grab is exactly what Congressional Democrats’ are attempting with their partisan H.R.1 proposal to federalize elections.

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Partial Transcript from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing:

Hagerty: “Secretary General, in the Western hemisphere, we’ve seen governments use illegitimate means to change or even nullify election rules and processes related to their democratic elections. The illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela is the most recent example of this type of activity. For example, in May of 2018, the illegitimate Maduro regime repeatedly changed, abused, and rewrote the rules in order to hold a sham election that failed to meet any sort of international standard for fair, free, and transparent voting. And more recently the illegitimate Maduro Regime has sought the stack and manipulate in its own favor Venezuela’s federal election commission… General, would you agree with the general proposition that the voting public’s confidence in free and fair elections, including impartial and transparent electoral processes is necessary and critical to a well-functioning democracy?”

The Honorable Luis Almagro: “Oh, I completely agree. It is the starting point of democracy for the people to be able to elect in a free way, transparent, just, and that the votes are counted properly. It’s about the integrity of the electoral process. We have to see it from practically the very vain and we have to monitor practically every single aspect of it. Today, the challenges are big because technology keeps improving and of course we have to keep track with technology. At the same time, we need to be able to read as a creatively, the political system and how it works. We observe elections, we observed facts, and we denounced those facts and we document them and we proved them. Those countries, we can help them in order to, uh, have a better electoral process like we are doing now in Haiti and Honduras. It is hard work. Sometimes it’s a very demanding work. The Venezuelan cases have extreme case because I mean elections there are not elections at all. They don’t have any pattern that is common with any election anywhere. I mean, they do fraud among them. For example, there was this election of the national constituents’ assembly that was the position was not participated. Nevertheless, they pump it 2 million votes in… [they] cheat among themselves during the election. So that is the most extreme case that they have. I have seen in the hemisphere so far.”

Hagerty: “Well, Secretary General, would you agree with the general proposition that a democracy risk fundamentally eroding itself when those in power change or negate election rules simply to stay in power?”

The Honorable Luis Almagro: “Yeah, completely. I completely agree. I can sign below. Definitely.”

Hagerty: “I would agree with that too. And we’re witnessing happening right here in America today, at least an attempt.”

Partial Transcript from Senate Rules Committee Hearing:

Hagerty on H.R. 1: “Doesn’t using government power to ensure you stay in power sound more like The Maduro Regime, or Chairman Mao’s regime, than it does something would happen here?”

Attorney General Todd Rokita: “I think the American people see right through it. That’s why the Senate has got to vote this bill down just to maintain, if for nothing else, maintain their credibility with the American people. If you look at these state legislators and whether the bills that they’re proposing are good or bad or ugly or what, they’re responding to their constituents, they’re responding to the American people. They are closer frankly, to the American people than the federal government is. And clearly people felt that because of the last minute rule changes and everything else, the last election, wasn’t a good one from a process standpoint. The 2018 and 2016 elections were much better.”