House Republicans are launching a probe into a $35 million contract the California secretary of state’s office awarded to an advisory firm that is working with Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenCoons beats back progressive Senate primary challenger in Delaware Biden courts veterans amid fallout from Trump military controversies Biden campaign manager touts ‘multiple pathways’ to victory MORE‘s campaign.
In a letter sent to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) on Wednesday, the GOP lawmakers argued the contract with SKDKnickerbocker for a voter outreach campaign is a conflict of interest due to the firm’s ties to Biden, adding that it runs the risk of using taxpayer funds to promote Democrats in the upcoming election.
“The Committee on Oversight and Reform is conducting oversight of a $35 million contract the California Secretary of State’s office awarded to a pro-Biden consulting firm, SKD Knickerbocker, to ‘produce advertising to encourage voters to participate in the November election,’ ” House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member James ComerJames (Jamie) R. ComerGOP lawmakers want answers from Disney on Mulan, China Hillicon Valley: Democrats demand answers over Russian interference bulletin | Google Cloud wins defense contract for cancer research | Cyberattack disrupts virtual classes Top Republican accuses Twitter of ‘mismanagement’ of security, employees MORE (R-Ky.), Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations ranking member Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceGOP lawmakers want answers from Disney on Mulan, China QAnon backer Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia GOP runoff QAnon supporter in Georgia heads into tight GOP runoff MORE (R-Ga.) and House Administration Committee ranking member Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisHouse Democrats’ campaign arm releases ads hitting 10 Republicans on health care Lawmakers press CDC for guidance on celebrating Halloween during pandemic DCCC reserves new ad buys in competitive districts, adds new members to ‘Red to Blue’ program MORE (R-Ill.) wrote.
“This contract will undoubtedly provide a partisan firm the opportunity to use taxpayer money to influence the federal election.”
The lawmakers raised concerns about whether the firm will have “access to sensitive voter information” and whether any of the consultants on the Biden campaign will also be working on the project, noting the firm’s managing director is a senior strategist for Biden’s campaign. They also questioned why other firms that don’t have political ties to a candidate weren’t selected for the contract.
“A review of websites of the other two contract finalists shows that neither company appears to have listed publicly any 2020 election political candidate clients. This raises questions about why the contract was awarded to a firm that has such an obvious interest in the outcome of the federal election,” they wrote.
“In fact, being awarded a $35 million contract to contact voters using taxpayer money while publicly advertising its work on behalf of Joe Biden’s campaign for president and employing a senior advisor to his campaign essentially provides a pro-Biden entity the opportunity to conduct get out the vote efforts. Unfortunately, this voter contact operation is being funded by taxpayers.”
The group also