GOP Senate elections committee chair Mary Kiffmeyer and GOP Sen. Majority Leader Paul Gazelka have crossed the line into obstructionism by playing political games with election security funding from the federal government.
They're holding $6 million of taxpayer funding hostage in a gambit to score political points. Only it's the voters who will lose.
Kiffmeyer, a former Minnesota secretary of state, has been delaying approval of the $6 million in federal funds aimed at thwarting cyberattacks. Her reasons are flimsy and relate to vague ideas about voter ID laws. Every other state has already approved these federal funds, which were allocated based on evidence and investigations that showed Russia hacked into the U.S. voting system in several states. Those investigations noted Minnesota was targeted.
Kiffmeyer is apparently not fazed by these threats that both parties agree are very real. She told the Star Tribune: "People are being hacked all the time. You're being hacked all the time. I am. This is no big thing."
Gazelka's excuse for allowing Kiffmeyer to single-handedly control this important election security issue revolves around some idea that committee chairs should be empowered. Kiffmeyer has demonstrated she should be given very little power.
Gazelka does a disservice to all Minnesotans to continue to allow Kiffmeyer to thwart funding for important security upgrades. Republicans who follow her lead by, for example, not showing up for a committee hearing to discuss the issue and reach compromise, are complicit.
Senate GOP leaders have decided politics is more important than secure voting rights of the people of Minnesota. Republican legislators should challenge the actions of Senate leaders and remove them if they refuse to yield.