AG Shapiro tells courts PIAA is subject to Right to Know Law

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, center, speaks at a news conference at Muhlenberg High School in Reading.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro late Thursday filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Wolf administration asking a judge to bar Senate Republicans from using subpoenas to get personal information — including partial Social Security numbers and driver’s license number for 9 million Pennsylvania voters.

The Senate Intergovernmental Operations committee voted last week to use the subpoenas to compel the Wolf administration to turn over information about the handling of the 2020 election.

“The right to keep personal information private is guaranteed in the Pennsylvania State Constitution,” Shapiro said. “And we plan to argue in court that these subpoenas violate those rights.”

In the lawsuit, Shapiro asks the court to deem the Senate subpoenas “unenforceable” and asserts that the subpoenas’ request for personal information about voters is too broad and would violate privacy rights of 9 million voters.

Shapiro called the Senate’s move to use subpoenas “largely a stunt” because other than the personal information about voters, “the vast majority of data that they are requesting is publicly available.”

Senate President Pro Tem Jake Corman, R-Centre County, had defended the move to seek the information by saying that the Senate review would either reveal problems that need to be corrected or dispel concerns about election fraud.

“The Senate has clear authority to conduct this review, and it is our responsibility to take the concerns of our constituents seriously and get the answers they seek. I look forward to seeing this investigation continue to move forward in a way that is thoughtful, responsible and legally sound, and I remain confident the process will produce a result that is credible to all eyes,” Corman said, adding that the Senate would take steps to ensure that all information is kept safe, “including making any vendor personnel sign non-disclosure agreements to make sure the data are protected under penalty of law.”

Gov. Tom Wolf blasted the Senate review last week as another attempt to perpetuate former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the election was tainted by fraud.

“Let’s be very clear, this information request is merely another step to undermine democracy, confidence in our elections and to capitulate to Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories about the 2020 election,” Wolf said.

Shapiro said that there has been no evidence that the election was tainted by widespread fraud. There have only been three documented incidents of fraud in Pennsylvania’s 2020 election, according to court documents filed as part of this new lawsuits. In addition, both the state House and Senate launched earlier reviews of the 2020 election which revealed no evidence of widespread fraud or other irregularities “that would have affected election outcomes,” according to the court documents filed by the attorney general.

John Finnerty reports from the Harrisburg Bureau for the New Castle News and other Pennsylvania newspapers owned by CNHI. Email him at jfinnerty@cnhi.com and follow him on Twitter @cnhipa.

 

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CNHI Harrisburg Bureau

John Finnerty reports from the Harrisburg Bureau for the New Castle News and other Pennsylvania newspapers owned by CNHI. Email him at jfinnerty@cnhi.com and follow him on Twitter @cnhipa.

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