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In an echo of his former boss Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence called for tightening election security laws Wednesday in a stinging critique of congressional Democrats’ comprehensive plan to federalize American elections. 

“After an election marked by significant voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of the 2020 election,” Pence wrote in an op-ed for The Daily Signal, the opinion site of the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank where Pence is now a “distinguished visiting fellow.”

Pence decried the sweeping election changes Democratic lawmakers are seeking to engineer via HR 1, otherwise known as the “For the People Act.” The legislation, Pence argued, would “increase opportunities for election fraud, trample the First Amendment, further erode confidence in our elections, and forever dilute the votes of legally qualified eligible voters.”

HR 1, Pence wrote, “would force states to adopt universal mail-in ballots, early voting, same-day voter registration, online voter registration, and automatic voter registration for any individual listed in state and federal government databases, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and welfare offices, ensuring duplicate registrations and that millions of illegal immigrants are quickly registered to vote.”

Calling on elected leaders to reject “congressional Democrats’ plan to nationalize our elections,” Pence wrote: “Election reform is a national imperative, but under our Constitution, election reform must be undertaken at the state level. Our Founders limited Congress’ role in conducting our elections for good reason: They wanted elections to be administered closest to the people, free from undue influence of the national government.”

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Pence framed the Democrats’ proposed overhaul as a politically motivated power grab divorced from genuine interest in election integrity. 

“Every single proposed change in HR 1 serves one goal, and one goal only: to give leftists a permanent, unfair, and unconstitutional advantage in our political system,” wrote Pence.

Pence’s op-ed, his first since leaving office in January, comes after months of controversy surrounding allegations of voter fraud during the November 2020 election. The Trump campaign launched numerous lawsuits in an attempt to challenge the election results in certain swing states.

Democratic supporters of HR1 claim their bill will improve access to voting, promote election integrity, reaffirm the Voting Rights Act, prohibit states from purging voter rolls, and enhance federal support for voting system security, among many reforms. 

“The 2020 election underscored the need for comprehensive, structural democracy reform,” declares Maryland Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes, the bill’s sponsor, on his website. “Americans across the country were forced to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering, and a torrent of special-interest dark money just to exercise their vote and their voices in our democracy.

“That’s why House Democrats are committed to advancing HR 1, the For the People Act — a transformational anti-corruption and clean elections reform package.” 

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Border Crisis

Sen. Blackburn asks Biden admin why U.S. spending $284K per migrant family to keep them in hotels

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“The cost to taxpayers for housing 1,200 migrant families for six months is about $71,000 per person,” the Tennessee senator says.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn has done the math.

The Tennessee Republican’s interest was piqued after the Biden administration announced its intention to spend nearly $87 million to house 1,200 foreigners who illegally cross the border in hotel rooms in the U.S.

“As the current contract stands, the cost to taxpayers for housing 1,200 migrant families for six months is about $71,000 per person,” Blackburn wrote in a letter Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Tae Johnson. “For a family of four, that amounts to a shocking $284,000 – enough to buy a small house.”

Earlier this month, the administration awarded ICE an $86.9 million contract through Texas-based nonprofit Endeavors, which will provide hotel rooms near the border for temporary shelter. But Blackburn also questions how the group spends its money.

She said Endeavors in 2018 collected more than $38 million in contributions and grants but noted that “IRS filings show that nearly $22 million or almost half of those contributions went to salaries.”

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“This raises questions if half of the $86.9 million in ICE contract proceeds will likewise be allocated toward employee and executive compensation instead of migrant services or housing,” Blackburn wrote in her letter.

She also expressed concerns that Endeavors’ CEO Jon Allman has not provided “specific details about the contract.”

“It is unclear whether this nonprofit has ever previously managed a contract of this magnitude, housed a migrant population of this size or served vulnerable children without putting them at further risk,” Blackburn wrote. “DHS and ICE must provide commitments to assure Congress and the American public that Endeavors is up for the task of securely and efficiently housing illegal immigrants without resulting in waste or abuse of taxpayer dollars, or worse, harming vulnerable migrant children.”

Blackburn asked for answers by April 15.

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Donald Trump

Trump website 45Office.com has been launched

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“The Office of Donald J. Trump is committed to preserving the magnificent legacy of the Trump Administration, while at the same time advancing the America First agenda,” a statement on the website homepage reads.

The website of the office of former President Donald Trump has launched online and includes forms for people to submit correspondence, greeting requests, media inquiries and scheduling requests for Trump and former first lady Melania Trump.

“The Office of Donald J. Trump is committed to preserving the magnificent legacy of the Trump Administration, while at the same time advancing the America First agenda,” a statement on the website homepage reads. “Through civic engagement and public activism, the Office of Donald J. Trump will strive to inform, educate, and inspire Americans from all walks of life as we seek to build a truly great American Future. Through this office, President Trump will remain a tireless champion for the hardworking men and women of our great country – and for their right to live in safety, dignity, prosperity, and peace.”

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The website includes biographies of Trump and his wife. The beginning of the former president’s biography says that he “launched the most extraordinary political movement in history, dethroning political dynasties, defeating the Washington Establishment, and becoming the first true outsider elected as President of the United States.”

Trump announces his and Melania’s official website is up: https://t.co/760WlWlhV4 pic.twitter.com/VhxRssMH3C— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) March 29, 2021

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Crime

New Cuomo accuser alleges she was forcibly kissed, claims to have evidence

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The woman alleges governor kissed her in “a highly sexual manner.”

Aninth woman has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, alleging that the Democrat grabbed her face and kissed her without her consent.

But this allegation is different: The woman, Sherry Vill, a 55-year-old married mother of three, has photographic evidence.

Vill says the incident occurred while the governor was “touring her flood-damaged home in 2017 – saying he did so in a ‘highly sexual manner,’ ” The New York Post reported.

In a press conference Monday, Vill was accompanied by her lawyer, Gloria Allred, who displayed a photo of the kiss.

Vill, whose home was damaged by the flood, recounted the incident, saying she invited Cuomo in.

“That’s when the governor looked at me, approached me, took my hand and pulled me to him,” Vill said. “He leaned down over me and kissed my cheek. I was holding my small dog in my arms in my arms and I thought he was going to pet my dog. But instead he went to squeeze between the dog … and kiss me on the other cheek in what I felt was a highly sexual manner.”

Cuomo sought to explain himself, she said. “He said, ‘That’s what Italians do, kiss both cheeks,’ “Vill said. “I felt shocked, and didn’t understand what had just happened. But I knew I felt embarrassed and weird about the kissing. I am Italian, and in my family, family members kiss. Strangers do not kiss.”

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On his way out, Cuomo “”stopped, he turned to me and said, ‘You are beautiful,’ ” Vill said.

Earlier this month, Anna Ruch, a former Biden 2020 campaign worker, told The New York Times that the governor made unwanted sexual advances toward her after they met at a wedding in New York City in 2019.

She also accused Cuomo, 63, of kissing her without her permission, even as she tried to pull away. Ruch said the encounter left her “confused and shocked and embarrassed.”

Another accuser, Charlotte Bennett, a former Cuomo aide, alleges that the governor inquired about her sex life and asked her whether she would be amenable to a relationship with an older man.

And another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo “made inappropriate comments about her appearance, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet,” the Associated Press reported.

Five more women have made similar allegations. The eighth woman to accuse Cuomo said the governor groped her last year at the Executive Mansion after she had called there to do some work. She said she was alone with the governor in the mansion when he “closed the door and allegedly reached under her blouse and began to fondle her,” a source told the Albany Times Union.

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