Despite Conflict, Pro-Biden Firm Got $35M Election Contract

By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

High-powered political consulting firm SKDK improperly received a $35 million contract to encourage people to vote in California in 2020 while one of the founders of the firm was advising Joe Biden’s campaign.

Alex Padilla (then-California Secretary) awarded the contract for SKDK. SKDK has a reputation for supporting Democratic candidates, and whose founder Anita Dunn is closely associated with Biden.

The $35 million was part of a $400 million Help America Vote Act (HAVA) 2020 CARES Act Grant Fund.

But California Controller Betty Yee said Padilla didn’t have the authority to award the funds, only the counties did, and she refused to pay the invoices.

Later, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state legislature got SKDK its money directly from the state budget.

Besides Padilla not having authority to allocate the funds, the $35 million wasn’t supposed to be used for get-out-the-vote efforts.

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HAVA gives emergency funds to states to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus for the 2020 federal election cycle. The purpose of the HAVA was to not encourage citizens to vote.

In addition, Padilla awarded the contract to SKDK without following the state’s competitive bidding process, another firm alleged.

Mercury, one of the seven firms that bid on the contract, said SKDK was allowed to submit 49 pages, far beyond the 15-page limit that other firms were held to, and was awarded the contract in an expedited manner.

This was all going on while Anita Dunn was working for Biden’s campaign. Her firm received $35 million — improperly from several angles — to encourage voters to cast ballots.

She later joined the Biden White House as advisor and refused to fill out ethics forms.

Three Congress members, Reps. James Comer (R-Ky.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Jody Hice (R-Ga.), wrote several letters: first to Padilla, then to one inspector general of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, then to that IG’s successor, as well as to a commissioner of the commission, highlighting how the $35 million was illegally spent.

Radio silence was all that they received in return for their letter. No investigation, no questions asked.

With such a blatant conflict of interest being allowed, it’s no wonder Americans don’t trust the fairness of our elections.

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