COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Debunked conspiracy theories made by elected officials in Ohio has prompted a federal investigation into the state’s administration of elections.
Along with Texas, Florida and Arizona, two U.S. House committees announced their intention to investigate Ohio’s efforts to combat election-related misinformation and disinformation.
“Over the past year, several states have passed laws that unnecessarily involve partisan actors in election administration and could lead to the overturning of legitimate election results,” U.S. Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said in a new release.
In a letter addressed to Brian Sleeth, president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials, Maloney and Lofgren requested information about the organization’s efforts to offset falsehoods and conspiracy theories related to the 2020 election.
“The Committees are particularly concerned by reports over the past year that some state officials have relied on false, debunked election conspiracy theories to enact new laws and take other steps that could undermine future elections,” the letter stated.
Maloney and Lofgren, of the House Oversight Committee and the Committee on House Administration, respectively, cited statements made by Ohio Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) in which he claimed without evidence that “the 2020 general election was illegitimate and meaningless due to fraud.”
The congresswomen also referenced Ohio House Bill 110, enacted in June 2021, that they argued reduced the effectiveness of election administration by banning election officials from working with non-government organizations.
“These restrictions hinder election administrators’ ability to receive funding for essential election activities such as voter education, registration, get-out-the-vote efforts, absentee voting, and poll worker training,” the representatives said. “Troublingly, advocates of H.B. 110 have repeated false narratives about election fraud in their push to enact new laws.
Maloney and Lofgren requested that Sleeth provide answers to their questions by May 4.
A spokesperson from Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office did not provide comment on the congressional investigation, as the letter was never delivered to his office.
Read the letter to Sleeth below: