Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office responded to Chairman Elijah E. Cummings of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and Chairman Jamie Raskin of the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, applauding their concern about election fraud as a civil rights issue and simultaneously refusing their demand for privileged and confidential information related to ongoing voter fraud investigations.
The letter from First Assistant Attorney General Jeff Mateer agreed that election fraud is certainly a civil rights issue, as each fraudulently cast vote deprives a law-abiding American of his or her right to participate in the democratic process. Not only does a fraudulent vote offset a valid one, but it undermines the integrity of elections and threatens the legitimacy of our democratically-elected state and federal governments. Voter fraud is a grave concern that warrants collective attention and law enforcement action.
First Assistant Attorney General Mateer also stated that “Congress lacks authority to force a sovereign state to produce privileged and confidential documents, particularly those relating to active law enforcement efforts and litigation.” Texas does not draw authority from the United States or United States Constitution. Texas holds status as a dual sovereign within the Union, and is granted “a residuary and inviolable sovereignty” by the Constitution.
“Granting Congress the power to exercise ‘oversight’ over the constitutional officers of a state engaged in the lawful exercise of that state’s core authority would undermine the fabric of our system of dual sovereignty,” First Assistant Attorney General Mateer wrote in the letter. “In this case, that risk would be made particularly acute by the committee’s attempt to force the constitutionally-designated attorney for the State of Texas to divulge privileged and confidential communications with a client concerning the client’s enforcement of Texas law.”
The House of Representatives’ own rules expressly require their requests and investigations to be “related to, and in furtherance of, a legitimate task of Congress.” There is no congressional power that involves a guarantee of voting rights to noncitizens under Texas law.