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Ethics experts ask Senate to investigate Graham's probe of mail-in voting

Ethics experts ask Senate to investigate Graham's probe of mail-in voting
© Greg Nash

A trio of ethics experts who have been outspoken critics of President TrumpDonald TrumpProsecutors focus Trump Organization probe on company's financial officer: report WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend MORE called on the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Sen. Lindsay Graham’s (R-S.C.) communications with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) regarding mail-in votes.

Former federal ethics watchdog Walter ShaubWalter Michael ShaubEthics experts ask Senate to investigate Graham's probe of mail-in voting Interior 'propaganda' video and tweets may violate ethics laws, experts say Louisiana House candidate fundraises off opponent's tweet about wife's 'premonition' dream MORE, George W. Bush-era ethics lawyer Richard Painter and Claire Finkelstein, the director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, wrote a letter asking Senate Ethics Committee Chairman James LankfordJames Paul LankfordCPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Republicans see Becerra as next target in confirmation wars Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (R-Okla.) and ranking member Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsKhashoggi fiancée: Not punishing Saudi crown prince would be 'stain on our humanity' GOP says Ron Klain pulling Biden strings Pompeo: Release of Khashoggi report by Biden admin 'reckless' MORE (D-Del.) to investigate whether Graham “suggested that Secretary Raffensperger disenfranchise Georgia voters by not counting votes lawfully cast for the office of president.”

The letter says "your Committee should demand clarity as to whether Senator Graham has threatened anyone with a Senate investigation of the Georgia vote tally and/or taken steps to initiative such an investigation."

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Raffensperger said in an interview with The Washington Post on Monday that the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman had asked him if he had the authority to toss out ballots in counties with high rates of nonmatching signatures. Graham also allegedly questioned if poll workers had accepted ballots with nonmatching signatures due to political bias.

Graham, who says he has also spoken to officials in other states, has denied that that was the basis of his Friday conversation Raffensperger.

"What I'm trying to find out was how do you verify signatures for mail-in ballots in these states," he told reporters on Monday. "I thought it was a good conversation. I'm surprised to hear him characterize it that way." 

Asked why, as a senator from South Carolina, he’s talking to an elections official in Georgia, Graham said that "it affects the whole nation."

Georgia is one of several states where President Trump, who has refused to concede the election to President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate Democrats negotiating changes to coronavirus bill Rural Americans are the future of the clean energy economy — policymakers must to catch up WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year MORE, has made baseless allegations of voter fraud.

In an interview with The Hill published Wednesday, Raffensperger said politicians are engaging in "emotional abuse" against voters with their unsubstantiated claims of fraud.