The commission established to address problems after the 2000
presidential contest is a “zombie agency” that should be dismantled, a GOP lawmaker said Friday.
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), chairman of a House subcommittee on elections, said the resignation of the last two members of the Election Assistance Commission had underlined his point that it is an obsolete agency and a waste of taxpayer money.
“It is a zombie agency, lumbering forward lifelessly devouring taxpayer dollars,” said Harper, who has long called for the elimination of an agency created after the disputed election in which Republican George Bush defeated Vice President Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreMan seen with Pelosi lectern on Jan. 6 pleads guilty Judge says Gore, unlike Trump, 'was a man' and accepted election loss Meet the red-state governor Democrats should nominate in 2024 instead of Biden or Harris MORE.
“The EAC, an obsolete agency that has long outlived its purpose, now has no commissioners, no executive director and no general counsel,” Harper added.
The House approved legislation last week to close the commission in a mostly partisan 235-190 vote. Republicans say shuttering the commission would save $33 million over five years.
Harper said last week the commission has far outlived its initial three-year mandate.
“This country is on the brink of a European-style fiscal crisis, making the decision to shut down an unpopular, ineffective program and an obsolete agency about as easy as it gets,” he wrote in a Dec. 1 statement.
Democrats on the House Administration Committee have denounced GOP efforts to eliminate the agency. They argue shifting responsibilities to the Federal Election Commission would be a mistake, given that agency’s problems in 2000.
“This continues a Republican effort to return the EAC’s voting machine certification responsibilities to the Federal Election Commission, the same agency whose failure to properly handle the process led to the nightmare recount in Florida in 2000 and creation of EAC under the Help America Vote Act,” Committee Democrats wrote in an October statement.
House Democrats also contended that eliminating the commission would raise trouble come the next Election Day.
“There is only one agency in the entire federal government ... focused on helping state and local governments run clean and cost-efficient elections,” wrote elections subcommittee ranking member Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) in the October statement.
“I cannot put a price on our democracy, but it would be the height of recklessness to do away with that agency when election officials tell us they most need the assistance that only EAC has or can provide,” he added.
But Harper on Friday said there is no reason to continue the commission with every position on it vacant.
“With every EAC position created by law now vacant, there is no justification to keep spending borrowed money on a hollow bureaucracy,” he said.