In his post-Trump administration days, Ken Cuccinelli is taking on an initiative to both restore confidence in election systems and drum up opposition to Democrats’ wide-ranging HR 1 election bill.
On Monday, every single House Democrat signed on to HR 1, dubbed For the People Act. Billed as a way to expand voting rights, the legislation includes everything from a D.C. statehood resolution to automatic voter registration. Republicans have said the bill amounts to a "federal government takeover" of election law.
Cuccinelli, former deputy secretary of homeland security, is partnering with Susan B. Anthony List and American Principles Project in the campaign and will chair the Election Transparency Initiative. The effort, led by social conservatives, has a starting war chest of $5 million.
Cuccinelli said his goal was to "act quickly to defeat the efforts of Democrats in Washington to federalize election laws through H.R.1, while simultaneously going on offense at the state level to rally the grassroots around meaningful reforms.
"The pro-life movement must engage in election transparency and integrity reform, or their ability to elect pro-life, pro-family lawmakers – and pass laws that save lives – will be greatly diminished, if not extinguished," the former Trump official and former Virginia attorney general said.
The group plans to mount a defense of the Senate filibuster and current Senate rules of the reconciliation process and to mobilize the grassroots in battlegrounds such as West Virginia, Arizona and Montana, to convince those senators to oppose HR 1. The initiative will also push for state-based election reforms.
HR 1 is expected to make it to the House floor in the first week of March.
The legislation would create automatic voter registration across the country and ensure those who complete felony sentences have their voting rights restored. The bill will also expand early voting and enhance absentee voting by simplifying voting by mail.
But potentially the most contentious measure of the bill commits Congress to deliver on Washington, D.C. statehood. It also prohibits voter roll purges and "ends partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters."
Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has called it a "Democrat Politician Protection Act." Republicans argue D.C. statehood is a shoo-in for two more Democratic senators.
The bill also seeks to "end the dominance of big money in our policies," and aims to shine "a light on dark money in politics" by upgrading online political ad disclosure and requiring all organizations involved in political activity to disclose their large donors.
The bill also "breaks the so-called ‘nesting-doll’ sham that allows big-money contributors and special interests to hide the true funding source of their political spending" by donating to another group to buy a political ad. And it says it "strengthens the political power of hardworking Americans by creating a multiple matching system for small donations."
The matching system "will be completely paid for by a new surcharge on corporate lawbreakers and wealthy tax cheats," according to the bill.
The bill also, in a swipe at former President Trump, requires presidents to disclose their tax returns— something Trump managed to avoid while in office.
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.