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Committee on Small Business Holds Hearing Examining the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Voter Registration Efforts in the State of Michigan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Chairman Roger Williams (R-TX) led a full Committee on Small Business hearing titled “Weaponizing Federal Resources: Exposing the SBA’s Voter Registration Efforts.” Chairman Williams issued the following statement regarding yesterday’s hearing.

“Yesterday’s hearing was an extremely important step in conducting oversight over the SBA’s electioneering efforts, but it’s disappointing this had to be done in the first place,” said Chairman Williams. “During a time when small businesses are struggling, the SBA has decided to focus efforts not on inflation or access to capital, but instead to register voters in a swing state. This is completely unacceptable. As the Committee charged with jurisdiction over this issue, we will not stop ensuring that the SBA is playing by the rules and acting in a Constitutional manner.”


Watch the full hearing here.

Below are some key excerpts from yesterday's hearing:

Chairman Williams: “The ranking member brought up four different things that small businesses need to be focusing on, including access to capital in her opening statement. And yet, the SBA and MOU say that this will be training staff to help registered voters. This diversion of resources are exactly why we are here today. The SBA must focus on Main Street issues, not electioneering. Ms. Parker, every two months, the Job Creators Network polls small businesses around the country to hear about some of the biggest challenges they are facing. And throughout the last few years, where has registering to vote landed on a list of concerns of small business owners?” Ms. Parker: “Mr. Chairman, credit has become scarce for small business owners if they can even get it. Interest rates are now at a 22-year high and that has a disproportionate effect on our small businesses. Whereas large corporations can obviously go out to capital markets and raise money very easily, many times small business owners are utilizing loans to even make payroll and buy inventory. And at this point, it's very difficult for them to access credit.”

Rep. Van Duyne: “I'm going to ask the Secretary of State, if you got a request from the SBA to actually implement a program similar to what they have in Michigan, what would your response be?” Mr. Morales: “Thank you, Congresswoman. Absolutely. I will not sign an MOU with them as it is in other states.” Rep. Van Duyne: “Why?” Mr. Morales: “Because it has to be a clear separation. I have four divisions. I'm here to talk about two. I spoke about two. I will be glad to work with the SBA when it comes to helping small business owners in Indiana. But when it comes to elections, that's why my role in my election division under the Secretary of State’s office, that's our responsibility to register as many eligible Hoosiers in our state. So it has to be a clear separation.”

Rep. Maloy: “They're registering voters, not nationwide, but in swing states and specifically in very blue parts of those swing states. Mr. Whitson, you talked about the lack of transparency, and we've kind of hinted at it. But would you just take one minute and elaborate on the lack of transparency? Because I think that speaks to the accountability piece of this.” Mr. Whitson: “No, I think that's exactly right. Thank you for that question, Congresswoman. And so if this was aboveboard, if it was everything the other side claims it is, wouldn't you be shouting from the hills the details of this plan? Wouldn’t you be proud to go on and say exactly what SBA is doing and where it's doing and how it's doing it, if it were aboveboard and so the lack of transparency is a huge problem. It was a problem from day one. The order came out in 2021. My organization, FGA, filed a Freedom of Information Act request to answer these questions to say, we'll take your word that this is above board, and we just want to see the details to make sure that's the case. And this is going to shock the members, but we were stonewalled.”