U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz

U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, at his new U.S. Capitol office with his wife, Lindsay Norman. Bentz was sworn in for the 117th U.S. Congress on Sunday. He replaces retiring Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, in representing Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District.

If you have been reading the paper, you know Rep. Cliff Bentz, the newly elected Republican representing Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District, objected to the certification of electors from Pennsylvania.

Should Bentz have done that? The state’s Democratic Party says he failed Oregonians. Did Bentz have a point? If he did, was it the right thing to bring it up?

Almost anything that happened in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday has been drowned out by the president of the United States inciting an attack by a mob on the legislative branch. Even before that, it was difficult to take any of the Republican challenges to the November election seriously. Most were not backed by the slimmest of facts. Courts rejected them. The challenges also threatened to disenfranchise millions of Americans, if not imperil the democracy.

Bentz was concerned about what happened with what’s called Act 77 in Pennsylvania. It passed the Legislature there in 2019. Among other things, it established universal mail-in voting in the state. If Pennsylvanians wanted to vote with a mail-in ballot, they could. They didn’t need an excuse. Other states have not been as swift as Oregon to allow that.

In September 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended the deadline to accept absentee ballots in that state by three days after the Nov. 3 election to Nov. 6. The Pennsylvania secretary of state and others argued additional time was needed because of postal issues and backlogs related to COVID-19.

Bentz’s complaint was Pennsylvania’s secretary of state “and the state’s Supreme Court did not adhere to the statutes set forth by the legislature when they extended deadlines for the return of absentee ballots. This action violated the principles of Article II of the (U.S.) Constitution because the state legislature had not previously delegated broader authority to the secretary (of state).”

Lawyers with the support of President Donald Trump’s campaign effectively asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up this particular Pennsylvania question twice. The court declined.

At least four conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court were, though, concerned about what the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did. “The provisions of the federal Constitution conferring on state legislatures, not state courts, the authority to make rules governing federal elections would be meaningless,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “if a state court could override the rules adopted by the legislature simply by claiming that a state constitutional provision gave the courts the authority to make whatever rules it thought appropriate for the conduct of a fair election.” Bentz made a similar argument.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who is also a conservative, did not side with those justices. He has made a different argument that state courts have the right to interpret the state’s constitution and laws. Others on the Supreme Court have believed voting accommodations could be warranted during a pandemic. New Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate.

So Bentz did bring up an arguably unsettled constitutional question. But was it then correct for him to object to the election results for Pennsylvania?

The voters spoke. The election was not close. The U.S. Supreme Court also spoke. It did not reach a clear conclusion in agreement with Bentz. Bentz could have let it go. It’s not as if the issue would be forgotten if he did not raise an objection on the House floor. He chose to stick to his convictions. Did he fail Oregonians?

(12) comments

chickiemama

Rep. Bentz, I hope you're safe. You've had an eventful first week in Congress. I didn't vote for you, but I hope you'll grow a conscience a.s.a.p. You're off to an egregiously disappointing start. Shame on you.

By contesting the 2020 Presidential election results (while not contesting his own results in the same election) Cliff Bentz does not undertake the will of the constituents he purportedly serves. He favors party over the upkeep of Democracy in the United States of America. Will The Bulletin gently coddle him, as it did Walden -- as our attempted dictator Trump had one branch of government attempt the violent overthrow of another? Shame.

Will C

Cliff Bentz is a disgrace to Oregon. Perhaps some of the violent crowds were deluded from the constant stream of lies coming from the President and his enablers. The ones who committed violence should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But the ones who incited this violence--especially the ones who validated the president's OBVIOUS lies--must be held accountable. If Cliff Bentz does not apologize for his role, he should resign. If he does not resign, he must be recalled. Time to bring the party back to reality, renounce the people involved with this stain on our history, and rebuilt with fresh voices: https://www.change.org/p/recall-cliff-bentz-r-for-sedition-against-usa-and-oregon-people?original_footer_petition_id=22510898&algorithm=promoted&source_location=petition_footer&grid_position=10&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uAK3RlwEAAAAAX%2FeBVLsxonZjOTI2MzBmNQ%3D%3D

Think about it

Bentz needs to resign. He is a disgrace to Oregon. By his actions and words he supported an insurrection at our country's Capital. And he is re-enforcing the lies trump spews about the election.

chickiemama

Agree 100%. We cannot tolerate Trumpian ideologs. Bentz needs to make new friends in DC - or go back to the ranch. He's not what we need or want.

Michael White

Representative Bentz made a poor decision when he chose to dispute the certification of Pennsylvania's electoral vote. He did not have to do it. His decision gains the district nothing and shows him to be easily-led, incautious, and an ideologue. His job is to get every federal dollar possible for the district.

pricerip

I attempted to leave a comment but the system failed.

chickiemama

same here. :(

Leftysdad

The Bulletin asks “Did Cliff Bentz fail Oregonians?” Cliff Bentz provides the answer on his Congressional page. He states his constituents distrust the result of the presidential part of the 2020 election. Rather than assure his constituents that no state Secretary of State, no court, federal or state found evidence of any voter fraud, he insists Congress take a fresh look at the issue. Why? Because it justifies his objection. Cliff Bentz, who was on the same ballot as the presidential contest, took an oath to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution lays out 3 branches of government. In his statement, Bentz dismisses the entire judicial branch and places his judgement ahead of those duly appointed members. Thousands of athletes in Bentz’s District are taught to shake hands at the end of the game, whether they won or lost. Cliff Bentz had an opportunity to model good sportsmanship and chose not to. Bentz concludes his statement by saying he “shares the frustration of those who are frustrated with the electoral system.” Bentz’s constituents aren’t frustrated. They all voted by mail! Voting in every state should be as easy as it is in Bentz’s home state. He should work to ensure Oregon’s system spreads to every state in the US.

Rs6er

Time for a recall of Bentz. He was more worried about Pennsylvania than he was about his constituents in Oregon.

John W Owen

The Bulletin’s editorial reads like nothing more than a dutiful slap on the hands of Rep. Bentz. It attributes a motive of high-minded principle to Bentz’s shameful vote that will forever stain his public service record. What Bentz intended- and the Bulletin editorial blindingly fails to tell readers is that he was fixated on showing his support for President Trump and messaging his MAGA base that it was still possible to overturn the Biden victory and prevent his inauguration. That is the real reason why Bentz joined over 100 fellow Republican zealots and Senate ringleaders Hawley and Cruz in besmirching this time-honoured practise of gathering to sanctify the results of the Electoral College. The notion that Cliff Bentz was qualified to challenge the results in Pa. is ludicrous. Make no mistake about it – and the Bulletin should have said so- Bentz’s participation in this sham played its part in inciting the true believer mob to storm the Capitol. The Bulletin should have asked whether Bentz has the character and integrity to continue in office. That’s the editorial the Bulletin failed to write.

John Owen

BuckeyeDuck

Short answer. Yes. BTW, the Bulletin choose not to report his signing on with the other objectors on December 15th until after the first of the year. I believe we're going to see the same coddling of Bentz by the Bulletin as we did with Walden. They're editorial yesterday about the storming of the US Capitol Building was rather subdued for the actions that had taken place.

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