Hillary Clinton suggests two U.S. Supreme Court decisions contributed to her loss in the 2016 presidential race, but an election law expert says there is no merit to the former Democratic Party nominee’s allegations and believes she is “still operating in fantasy land.”
During a Thursday appearance at Rutgers University, Clinton said the Supreme Court’s decisions to allow more independent expenditures on campaigns (known as Citizens United) and it’s ruling to amend the Voting Rights Act both worked against her.
“I was the first person to run for president who had to deal with both Citizens United and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act,” said Clinton.
“With Citizens United it was all bets are off, more money than we’ve ever seen and being spent in ways we still to this day don’t know. I mean the NRA spent more money against me than they’ve ever spent against anybody, and all these other groups were just pumping it out because with the Citizens United decision, we can’t stop it and we can’t even follow it and we often don’t even know after the fact,” said Clinton.
“Then the Voting Rights Act, which was gutted, opened the door to voter suppression like we haven’t seen in 50 years. So people are being turned away from the polls because they don’t have the exact right ID, although they bring everything else they possibly can bring.
“And they’re being purged from voter rolls because maybe they haven’t voted in a year or two,” she added.
Hans von Spakovsky directs the Election Law Reform Initiative at the Heritage Foundation and served on the President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. He says Clinton’s assertions are baseless.
“Just about everything Hillary Clinton said is wrong and she’s apparently still operating in fantasy land,” said von Spakovsky.
Von Spakovsky says the Supreme Court only changed one aspect of the Voting Rights Act, and that was to no longer require southern states to get permission from the Justice Department before changing election laws. He says all the critical protections for all voters remain intact and there were no allegations of voter suppression in the wake of the election.
“If anything like that had occurred, you would have seen lawsuits filed by all kinds of groups under the Voting Rights Act because suppressing and intimidating voters is illegal under the Voting Rights Act. Not a single lawsuit like that was filed. No lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Justice Department either,” said von Spakovsky.
He also says no one was turned away over not having the proper identification.
“She obviously is not familiar with federal law, which says that no one can be turned away from a poll. If you show up and there’s some sort of problem, say you’re not on the voter registration lists, you are given a provisional ballot and you are allowed to vote.
“She also said that people were being purged (because) they hadn’t voted in a year or two. That is also completely and totally false. Federal law, through the Motor Voter Law, does not allow that to be done. So she is basically making up these claims,” said von Spakovsky.
But what about Clinton’s claim that shadowy, unaccountable money made it’s way into the campaign in amounts never seen before as a result of the Supreme Court broadening the definition of political speech in the Citizens United decision?
“The independent spending, and by independent spending we mean spending by groups that are not associated with the campaigns or the political parties – that’s something that’s been going on in our elections for a very long time and it’s a tiny, tiny percentage of the amount of money that was raised and spent by the presidential campaigns, including her campaign,” said von Spakovsky.
“By the way, most of that independent spending is entirely disclosed. Political groups – PAC’s and others that engage in that type of spending – have to include all of it including all of their donors to the Federal Election Commission,” said von Spakovsky.
In addition, the spending from the 2016 campaign shows that the Clinton campaign vastly outspent the Trump campaign and the Democratic National Committee plus outside liberal groups easily outspent the Republican National Committee and right-leaning advocacy groups.
So why is Clinton blaming these court decisions for the results in 2016?
“She just can’t get over the fact that Donald Trump won the election,” said von Spakovsky.