U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-MI, has responded to President Joe Biden’s attempts to use the U.S. Small Business Administration to register Michigan voters ahead of the November election.

“The SBA has no role to play in registering voters or elections,” Moolenaar told The Midwesterner in an email. “It needs to immediately terminate any election activity it is doing and focus on helping American small business owners who are being hurt by President Biden’s high inflation and failed policies.”

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Moolenaar was reacting to revelations the Biden administration, SBA, and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson last month signed a Memorandum of Understanding to allow the SBA to actively register voters in Michigan in a program that will sunset Jan. 1, 2036.

The MOU fuels suspicions the SBA voter registration initiative is mainly targeting likely Democratic voters.

“The data shows that efforts by the State of Michigan, led by Democrat Governor Whitmer, and campaign activists to register voters is targeted to areas favorable to likely Biden voters,” House Committee on Small Business Communications Director Matt VanHyfte told The Midwesterner. “Now, the SBA appears to be targeting those same areas and joining in these efforts. This calls into question why a federal agency is enhancing the efforts of Biden allies, in a battleground state where existing voter registration efforts are already succeeding in registering DNC target demographics.”

VanHyfte continued: “The Committee is extremely skeptical that most of the outreach events in the same counties as the DNC is targeting are a coincidence. It is also concerning that these outreach events are taking place in the counties with the largest increase in registered voters in the last year. The overlap between counties with the DNC target demographics, largest increase in registered voters over the last year, political trends toward democratic candidates, and small business outreach events is alarming and cannot be denied. This MOU is unnecessary as Michigan is already successfully registering DNC preferred voters, thus calling into question why this MOU is even needed in the first place and what ground it has to stand on.”

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Benson defended the effort.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. Like voting, they play a direct role in improving people’s lives,” Benson said in a March 20 statement. “I’m proud we are working with the Small Business Administration for this first-in-the-nation effort connecting Michigan’s small business community with the tools and information they need to play an even greater active role in our democracy.”

Benson’s comments were echoed by Biden’s SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman.

“Protecting and strengthening our democracy is critical to our economic success and a core goal of the Biden-Harris Administration,” she said. “Through this memorandum of understanding, the SBA will help connect Michiganders to vital voter registration information from the State of Michigan so that more small business owners can exercise their right to vote. Small businesses are busy working on and in their businesses, and by meeting them where they are – on our website and at our small business outreach events – we can help facilitate voter registration and civic engagement, so their voices are heard.”

National Republican Congressional Committee Spokesman Mike Marinella also expressed his opposition to the program in an email to The Midwesterner.

“This is a desperate and blatant attempt to tilt the playing field in favor of Michigan Democrats’ failed campaigns. Instead of helping small businesses in Michigan that are shutting their doors due to the disastrous ‘Bidenomics,’ the Biden administration is using federal resources as a campaign arm to muddy the waters,” Marinella said.

U.S. House Republicans also have registered their concerns with Guzman.

Members of the House Committee on Small Business wrote the SBA Administrator:

“On March 19, 2024, the SBA announced a new voter registration Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Michigan Department of State.

“The Committee is concerned about the lack of constitutional and statutory authority allowing the SBA to engage in activities beyond its mission, including voting access and registration activities. It appears that this is an attempt to improperly involve the federal government in America’s electoral processes. Elections are for the American people to engage in, not for federal agencies to interfere with during an election year.”

The SBA program was made possible under an Executive Order from Biden shortly after he took office as president. The EO directed federal agencies to “consider ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote.”

Under the program, the SBA will direct its members to a website established by the Michigan Department of State, where they will be able to register to vote online. SBA outreach events in the state will also be allowed to host voter registration drives.

According to the news release, Michigan is home to 900,000 small businesses employing more than 1.9 million potential voters.

Under Biden’s EO, Michigan is also partnering with three U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs sites in the state. The program will offer veterans and their families voter registration information and assistance.

The House Small Business Committee letter continued:

“It is inconceivable why Michigan – a state with a registered voting population above the national average – is where SBA found a need to use taxpayer resources to register more Michigan voters,” the letter states. “Additionally, the timing of this MOU’s announcement is suspicious. The SBA made this announcement while President Biden’s campaign directs its attention toward Michigan, a key battleground state for his re-election efforts,” the representatives said.

“The SBA involving itself in the election process of a battleground state during an election year is an insult to struggling small business owners across America. Perhaps this MOU is a ‘first of its kind collaboration for the SBA’ because it is inconsistent with federal law, has nothing to do with the SBA’s stated mission, and ignores the harsh realities small businesses face under the Biden Administration.”