The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, has stated that he and his colleagues will not conduct an investigation into alleged voter fraud during the 2016 presidential election.
President Donald Trump has previously asserted that he had lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes because of millions of illegally cast ballots. Investigations conducted by state officials have not turned up any evidence of widescale voter fraud that could have tipped the election's results.
On March 7, Chaffetz said his committee would not investigate voter fraud during the election.
"I don't see any evidence of that," Chaffetz told CNN. "We're not doing an investigation into that. So, sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. I'm not doing that ... We can't just investigate everything that's ever thrown out there by the Democrats, by the Republicans."
In November 2016, Trump had ignited controversy when he took to social media to assert that he had rightfully won the popular vote, which reflects the total number of ballots cast.
"In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally," Trump tweeted.
On Jan. 23, the president repeated his assertion during a meeting with GOP lawmakers, stating that he believed between 3 and 5 million votes cast during the election were illegitimate, The Washington Post reports.
On Feb. 5, Trump announced he would start a commission to investigate voter fraud.
"I'm going to set up a commission, to be headed by Vice President Mike Pence, and we're going to look at it very, very carefully," Trump told Fox News.
The proposed commission has yet to form. The White House has not provided any evidence to support Trump's assertion that millions of votes were cast illegally during the election.
As of March 6, state election officials nationwide have disclosed few cases of suspected voter fraud, totaling only a few hundred investigations, The Hill reports.
Elections expert Michael McDonald of the University of Florida predicted that the pending investigations would ultimately result in only a handful of convictions.
"What inevitably happens is that these very few numbers that we're seeing get whittled down to an even smaller number," McDonald said.
The ranking member of the House Oversight committee, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, had previously signaled that Chaffetz would not pursue an investigation into voter fraud based on Trump's assertions, the Independent Journal Review reports.
On Feb. 8, Cummings stated on Capitol Hill that Chaffetz has told him "that he does not believe that there is voter fraud. And so therefore, he will not be looking at it and he made that clear. I give him credit for that."