Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) refused to testify before legislative oversight committees Tuesday investigating allegations of fraud during the 2020 general election.
State Rep. Matt Hall (R), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, had invited Benson to appear, but she told the committee in a letter that she will not participate.
“I am aware of the hearings the Committee has conducted, and am concerned [t]hat contrary to your desire to ‘get to the bottom’ of election questions, they are instead amplifying already debunked conspiracy theories and previously disproven claims of people who lack basic knowledge of election administration, and in doing so undermining the integrity of the election and wounding our democracy,” she said.
Benson claimed a recent hearing, which featured President Donald Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, was “mocked on national comedy shows” and therefore, was “a clear waste of taxpayer dollars.”
Benson called the 2020 election “settled” and said she would “look forward to having a conversation with any willing lawmakers about reforms and improvements we can make going forward for future elections.”
The Secretary of State said, for example, that clerks should have more time to process absentee ballots, and would like to see military members be able to “securely return their ballots electronically.”
“Thank you again for the invitation to meet with the Committee,” Benson concluded, “but at this time, given the concerns expressed above, I cannot in good conscience accept.”
“Secretary of State Benson said she would be willing to testify before the people’s representatives when it made a good talking point for her and got her good press. But when the rubber met the road and it came time to answer questions about her work, she refused to take questions,” Hall said in a statement.
“The electoral votes for Michigan have been submitted. But people in Michigan still have questions about their state’s elections and those questions deserve answers. I fear we are headed for more distrust in the future if people are denied clarity and transparency from officials who head up the process,” he said.
State Rep. Mary Whiteford (R) said she supports giving the committee subpoena power to compel Benson or other relevant witnesses to testify about the 2020 election.
“People deserve answers, and I am fighting hard to make sure a fair and honest investigation is conducted into each and every irregularity that occurred. To accomplish that, we must have a full and thorough statewide audit and we must give our Oversight Committee the subpoena power it needs to hold the Secretary of State accountable,” she said in a news release.
Currently, Hall only has subpoena power pertaining to documents.