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Sean D. Reyes
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AGO Stands Against Illegal Federal Guidance for Using Taxpayer Dollars in Election-Related Activities

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a letter to the U.S. Department of Education about concerning—and possibly illegal—guidance given to postsecondary education institutions regarding the entangling of Federal Work-Study funds with election-related activities. The states of West Virginia and Indiana led the letter.

According to the States, Dr. Nasser H. Paydar, the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education, sent a Dear Colleague letter to postsecondary education institutions, telling them “that [Federal Work-Study] funds may be used for employment by a Federal, State, local, or Tribal public agency for civic engagement work that is not associated with a particular interest or group.” Dr. Paydar added that “[t]his work can include supporting broad-based get-out-the-vote activities, voter registration, providing voter assistance at a polling place or through a voter hotline, or serving as a poll worker.”

In their letter, the attorneys general argue that the guidance from the U.S. Department of Education “violates federal law, does not provide meaningful protections against abuse, [and] appears to be part of a broader effort to use public initiatives to enlist favored voters.”

The coalition encourages the federal agency to “reconsider [the] guidance” and to alert all contacted institutions that the Federal Work-Study funds “may [not] be used for supporting [the election-related activities] under any circumstances.” The attorneys general conclude their correspondence by writing, “If the Biden Administration really cares about ‘[r]espect[ing] free and fair elections’ and ‘[r]estor[ing] trust in our institutions,” this pullback would be a good place to start.”

Joining Utah, West Virginia, and Indiana were the states of Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas.

Read the letter here.