Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked two bills for voting security on Thursday, citing their “partisan” nature as the reason for his decision. But according to Newsweek, McConnell received donations from four of the top United States voting machine lobbyists earlier this year, which some suggest influenced his vote.
The proposed plans would likely hinder the Election Systems & Software and Dominion Voting Systems with new burdens. The two companies comprise about 80 percent of the voting machines in the U.S. and have deep ties to many movers and shakers in Washington, D.C. — including McConnell.
Specifically, Sludge found that McConnell received $2,000 from David Cohen, $1,000 from Brian Wild, $1,000 from Emily Kirlin, and $1,000 from Jen Olson — all of these people have lobbied on behalf of voting machine companies.
“It’s not surprising to me that Mitch McConnell is receiving these campaign contributions,” said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice.
“He seems single-handedly to be standing in the way of anything passing in Congress around election security, and that includes things that the vendors might want, like money for the states to replace antiquated equipment.”
On Friday morning, Morning Joe‘s Joe Scarborough blasted McConnell for blocking the votes.
“He is aiding and abetting [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s ongoing attempts to subvert American democracy, according to the Republican FBI, CIA, DNI, intel committee,” he said. “All Republicans are all saying Russia is subverting American democracy and Moscow Mitch won’t even let the Senate take a vote on it. That is un-American.”
Mitch McConnell received donations from voting machine company lobbyists before blocking election security bills https://t.co/6eIgxrwOxG— Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 26, 2019
McConnell recently made headlines when Jon Stewart attacked him for his handling of compensation for 9/11 first responders. Although the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund was recently extended to continue through to 2090 via a 97-2 Senate vote, per BBC, Stewart said that McConnell blocked similar bills in the past and suggested the Senate only acted after pushback from the public.
Regardless, 9/11 victims advocate John Feal praised McConnell during an interview he and Stewart had with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota after the fund was extended. Per The Inquisitr, Camerota asked if there was anyone whose humanity surprised them or whom they wanted to recognize. Feal named McConnell and said that he was straightforward and honest in the meeting he had with Feal and his team.
As for the bill, the only two people that opposed it were Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee, who cited concerns with funding and pushed to delay passing the fund in the name of fiscal responsibility.