Pa. Senate Democrats sue for blocking GOP subpoenas in 2020 election investigations | Information | Pittsburgh
Photo: PA Senate Democratic Caucus
Following a threat earlier this week, Pennsylvania Senate Democratic lawmakers sued their Republican counterparts for blocking 17 subpoenas issued this week to open an investigation into the 2020 presidential election.
The complaint, filed in the Commonwealth Court on the night of September 17, calls on the state’s justices to block the subpoenas as unconstitutional as the Pennsylvania Senate Republicans are illegally attempting to do so despite the election results.
The lawsuit also alleges that if, as planned, they share the personal information of 9 million Pennsylvania voters – such as driver’s license numbers and Social Security partial numbers – with a private contractor to conduct the investigation, Republican lawmakers will violate state law.
The state constitution puts the “review and determination” of all election results in the hands of the courts.
“The investigation that the committee is seeking would be tantamount to an election campaign and falls outside the powers of the General Assembly to regulate the conduct of elections through the enactment of laws,” the lawsuit said.
The same passage was invoked by the Republican leadership after President Donald Trump’s defeat in re-election in 2020. Trump cited unsubstantiated allegations of fraud, and his tough GOP supporters in the General Assembly wanted to appoint their own voters, overriding the 3.4 million voters who backed Joe Biden.
Republican leaders, including Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Center), said the same article prevented the panel from taking such a move.
In the months since the election, however, Trump has sought support for a series of election inquiries he and his supporters refer to as “trials” to find evidence of his claims, which had been rejected in court and by his top members Administration.
Pennsylvania Senate Republicans have been sneaking up their own scrutiny since July when State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) first sent letters to three counties requesting hundreds of thousands of items, including ballot papers and voting machines.
Mastriano was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 when a mob of Trump supporters tried to block certification of Biden’s college election victory.
However, he was relieved as chairman of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee that leads the investigation after Mastriano publicly questioned Corman’s determination to conduct the review.
He has been replaced by Senator Cris Dush (R-Jefferson), another Conservative who has questioned the 2020 election results. The Dush committee issued the subpoenas on Wednesday with 7-4 party’s votes.
Dush said he was looking for the personal identification information because “there were questions about the validity of – people who voted – who voted, whether it existed or not”.
He added after the vote that further summons, including for ballot papers, could come.
Senate Democrats said they would challenge the subpoenas on Wednesday. Attorneys for the caucus as well as Pittsburgh attorney Clifford Levine, who worked for the Biden campaign in 2020, are arguing for the case.
“This is nothing more than an inexcusable attempt to undermine public confidence in our electoral process,” Democratic members of the committee said in a statement, linking the investigation to Trump’s attempts to undermine his election loss.
Stephen Caruso is a reporter for the Pennsylvania Capital star, where this story first appeared.