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HEARING WILL FOCUS ON RESTORING VOTING RIGHTS, PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF OUR ELECTIONS AND REFORMING ETHICS LAWS

January 28, 2019 - Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at 10:00 a.m., House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler will hold a hearing on portions of house committee on the judiciary democrats logoH.R. 1, the For the People Act, a sweeping package that offers the most transformational and comprehensive pro-democracy reforms in more than four decades. The hearing will focus on ensuring election access, restoring voting rights, protecting the integrity of our elections, reforming our ethics laws and campaign finance reform.

Witnesses:     

Vanita Gupta, President and Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Sarah Turberville, Director, The Constitution Project, Project on Government Oversight

Adav Noti, Senior Director of Trial Litigation and Chief of Staff, Campaign Legal Center

J. Christian Adams, President and General Counsel, Public Interest Legal Foundation

Hans von Spakovsky, Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow, Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, The Heritage Foundation

Date:               Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Time:              10:00 a.m.

Location:        2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington D.C.

Background:

In January 2019, 226 House Democrats introduced H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a sweeping package of reforms to restore confidence in our democracy by reducing the role of money in politics, restoring ethical standards and integrity for government, and strengthening laws to protect voting.

The issues that will be referred to the Judiciary Committee include: 

Ensuring Election Access

  • Makes it unlawful to hinder, interfere or prevent an individual from registering to vote.
  • Prohibits the use of non-forwardable mail as the basis for removing registered voters from the rolls, and prohibits challenges to eligibility from individuals who are not election officials without an oath of good faith factual basis.
  • Prohibits providing false information about elections to hinder or discourage voting and increases penalties for voter intimidation, and prescribes sentencing guidelines for those individuals found guilty of such deceptive practices.
  • Declares the right of citizens to vote in federal elections will not be denied because of a criminal conviction unless a citizen is serving a felony sentence in a correctional facility, and requires states and the federal government to notify individuals convicted of state or federal felonies, respectively, of their re-enfranchisement.
  • Allows individuals private rights of action and ability to file administrative complaints.

Restoring the Voting Rights Act and Protecting the Integrity of our Elections

  • Declares that Congress finds that the Shelby County decision ushered in a new era of voter suppression and that Congress should build a record of voter suppression since Shelby, and declares that, per the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby, Congress should restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act by updating the formula for determining which jurisdictions are subject to federal preclearance.
  • Declares Congress' intent to protect and promote Native Americans’ exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote, including voter registration and equal access to all voting mechanisms.
  • Declares Congress’ view that the right to vote is one of the more powerful instruments that residents of the territories of the United States have to ensure their voices are heard.

Campaign Finance Reform

  • Expresses that Congress finds that the Citizens United decision is detrimental to democracy and that the Constitution should be amended to clarify Congress’ and the States’ authority to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.

Enforcing Ethics Within the Federal Government

  • Requires the development of a code of ethics for Supreme Court justices.
  • Increases resources for FARA office, creates FARA investigation and enforcement unit in Department of Justice and provides authority to impose civil penalties, and requires Foreign Agents to disclose transactions involving things of financial value conferred on officeholders.
  • Clarifies that counseling in support of lobbying contacts is considered lobbying under the Lobbying Disclosure Act and therefore triggers registration.
  • Requires all Presidential appointees to recuse themselves from any matter in which a party is the President, the President’s spouse, or an entity in which the President or President’s spouse has a substantial interest.

For a section-by-section of H.R. 1, see here.

For H.R. 1 bill text, see here.
Source: U.S. House Committee On The Judiciary