As the Biden Admin Refuses to Disclose Taxpayer-Funded Voter Mobilization Plans, Senate Democrats Block Hagerty’s Legislation to Require Basic Transparency

May 2, 2024

Legislation addresses widespread concerns that secret voter mobilization plans under Biden Executive Order 14019 are being implemented in a partisan fashion to help President’s campaign

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today spoke on the Senate floor and sought to pass legislation he introduced this week that simply requires the Biden Administration to publicly disclose the federal agency voter mobilization plans that President Biden required under Executive Order 14019, which directs federal agencies to submit strategic plans to the White House describing how they will use taxpayer funds to, among other things, help with completing vote-by-mail materials and finding third-party organizations to conduct voting-related activity on federal property. Yet, Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) blocked the legislation from passage, thereby keeping the plans secret and preventing this basic degree of transparency.

Despite the White House’s attempt to conceal its plans, information has emerged that merits greater transparency and congressional oversight, including that the White House issued Executive Order 14019 at the recommendation of a far-left organization called Demos—which describes its mission as “pioneer[ing] bold progressive ideas”—and then used this organization to help implement it.  Similarly, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledged that it was working with groups like the ACLU and Demos to implement this Executive Order, and a FOIA request revealed that Demos is working with the Department of Agriculture on implementation.  Further underscoring the concern of partisan weaponization of taxpayer dollars, Vice President Kamala Harris applauded federal payments to “nonpartisan poll workers,” using the example of an individual who has worked for Democrat-aligned organizations.

Hagerty noted that transparency is critical to ensure compliance with federal law, including the Hatch Act, which was enacted in the 1930s to prevent political activities by Roosevelt Administration employees, and the Anti-Deficiency Act, which prohibits unauthorized uses of congressionally appropriated taxpayer funds.


In May 2023, Hagerty demanded answers and basic transparency from the Biden Administration about its plans to implement Executive Order 14019.

In November 2023, after receiving no answers, Hagerty called out the Biden Administration for refusing to provide transparency about these plans.

In March 2024, Hagerty in a Rules Committee Hearing received confirmation from Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen that President Biden’s Executive Order 14019 directing that taxpayer dollars be used to drive voter turnout, including through the use of outside organizations, is highly unusual and being implemented in a partisan fashion.

*Click the photo above or here to watch*

Senator Hagerty’s remarks and the debate exchange may be found here. Text of his remarks is below.Senator Hagerty: Mr. President, in 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14019. This Executive Order directs federal government agencies to engage in voter mobilization—using taxpayer resources—and requires that they submit a plan for doing so to the White House. This includes helping with completing vote-by-mail materials and finding third-party organizations to conduct voting-related activity on federal property.

This Executive Order prompted questions and concern.  First, there’s no clear authority in federal law allowing Executive Branch agencies to work with certain voters to complete mail-in ballot forms and bring in outside organizations to help.  And there’s no authority for spending congressionally appropriated funds on this activity, raising the question of whether it violates the Anti-Deficiency Act.

The same act prohibits federal agencies from accepting voluntary services—which this Executive Order blatantly violates by directing agencies to solicit third-party organizations to provide voting-related services on agency premises.

There’s also the question of whether the Biden Administration is implementing this Executive Order in a manner that violates the Hatch Act, which limits political activity by federal employees. 

The Hatch Act is a federal law that was enacted in the 1930s for the very purpose of preventing this sort of government activity, after the Roosevelt Administration was accused of using federal employees and the WPA to boost Democrat candidates. Sound familiar?

Think about VP Harris’s recent announcement that federal funds will be used to hire college students as quote, “non-partisan poll workers” this summer. As it turns out, her example was a committed partisan.

Back to EO 14019, and the Biden Administration’s pledge to be “the most transparent presidential administration ever”–surely,  the Biden Administration is going above-and-beyond to be transparent and explain exactly how this Order is being implemented, right? Wrong.

In fact, in the three years since the order was issued, the Biden White House has done the opposite.  The White House has stonewalled congressional requests to see the agency plans required under the order—despite that congressionally appropriated resources are being spent on them.  They’ve gone to court to fight open records requests for them. 

Last May, along with several colleagues, I wrote to the White House asking for basic information on these plans.  I never received a response.  We wrote again in November and were ignored again.

Now, I’ve introduced legislation that would simply require that agencies disclose these plans and provide an update on their implementation.  That’s it—they just have to explain what they are doing. Will they?

I’ll note that I’m not alone in seeking transparency regarding this Executive Order.  Several of my Democrat colleagues recently wrote the General Services Administration requesting its plan under this same Executive Order.  My legislation simply broadens this request by seeking transparency from all agencies.

The White House’s continued, deliberate secrecy begs the question: What are they hiding?   What do they fear revealing? I think that we can surmise that these plans take our nation right back to the 1930’s–weaponizing government yet again—this time to recruit and harvest Democrat voters.

The facts that have slipped out seem to confirm as much. The Biden White House tasked a far-left organization called Demos—which describes its mission as “pioneer[ing] bold progressive ideas”—with helping to implement the Executive Order.  Demos recommended this voter-mobilization strategy to the incoming Biden Administration in

December 2020.  Then, Demos’s former president was brought in to work in the White House, which dutifully issued the order implementing the Demos plan during Biden’s first year in office.

The Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged that it was working with groups like the ACLU and Demos to implement this executive order. A FOIA request also revealed that Demos is working with the Department of Agriculture on this.

It seems the idea is to use federal agencies to provide point-of-sale voter mobilization—provide a federal benefit, and use that exchange to mobilize the voter.  There’s a reason why the Hatch Act and other laws prevent federal employees from engaging in political activity—because they are paid to serve all American taxpayers, not use government benefits to activate voters.  This sort of activity is fraught with potential partisan impact, even if ostensibly framed as non-partisan.

Setting aside the clear policy and ethical concerns, all my legislation would do is require basic transparency.

The Biden Administration has taken extraordinary steps to hide this basic information from the American people. Not only does President Biden owe taxpayers this information regarding how their hard-earned dollars are being spent on voter mobilization, but it’s a basic duty of this body to oversee how congressionally appropriated funds are being spent, especially on activities for which they were never appropriated.

In just a few short months, tens of millions of Americans will cast their vote for President. The American people deserve to know whether the incumbent President is attempting to tip the scales in his favor of his own reelection using their taxpayer dollars. 

We all agree that free-and-fair elections are a foundational pillar of the United States.

The founders of the United States rightly left the responsibility of carrying out federal elections to the states—not the incumbent federal President. This was to help ensure the integrity of, and confidence in, our election system. This Executive Order is an extreme departure from the American model. 

The President using the vast federal bureaucracy to carry out a secret voter mobilization operation months before the election is a dangerous precedent and should alarm Congress and every American. 

That’s why I’m requesting that the Senate pass legislation requiring that the Biden Administration disclose these plans and provide the transparency that is necessary to address rightful concerns about using taxpayer dollars in an unlawful and deeply disturbing manner.


The motion was objected to by Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), who opposed simply requiring the Biden Administration to provide a full accounting of its taxpayer-funded voting plans.


Senator Hagerty: Mr. President, my Democratic colleague is objecting to legislation that would simply require basic transparency regarding President Biden’s Executive Order and the voter mobilization plans being implemented using taxpayer dollars.

My Democrat colleague even signed the recent letter seeking certain transparency regarding this Executive Order. But apparently requiring agencies to disclose these secret plans that have not been authorized by Congress is a bridge too far.  

It’s the job of Congress to oversee the Executive Branch and its use of congressionally appropriated funds, not to run cover for it.

My Democrat colleague is attempting to misconstrue what this legislation does – this is about transparency regarding taxpayer dollars and nothing more.

Do the American people not deserve to know whether the President is using funds appropriated by Congress—and the vast federal bureaucracy –to aid his reelection?

The question remains: If there’s nothing to hide, then why won’t the Biden White House disclose these plans?

I yield the floor.