Sending Office: Honorable Eric Swalwell
Stop Foreign Interference in our Elections:
Cosponsor H.R. 2424, the Duty to Report Act
Cosponsors: Cohen, Demings, Johnson (Hank), Gallego, Norton, Quigley, Cisneros, Deutch, Thompson (Mike), Cardenas, Courtney, Payne, Brownley, Napolitano, Clarke, Speier
May 17, 2019
I urge you to join me in cosponsoring H.R. 2424, the Duty to Report Act, to help safeguard the integrity of our elections and protect against foreign interference; companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Richard Blumenthal.
This is a broader version of a bill I first introduced last Congress.
We now know that on numerous occasions foreign actors sought to assist the Trump Campaign during the 2016 presidential election. For example, the Trump family has acknowledged that Russia offered secret “dirt” on Donald Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential
election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump, Jr. was told Russia was offering him this information as part of its support for his father’s candidacy. Instead of reacting with concern or alarm that a foreign power was trying to meddle in
a domestic U.S. election in violation of federal law, Mr. Trump, Jr. said he would “love” to get his hands on this information; he and his colleagues – then-Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner – later met with the
Russian representatives to do so.
Russia’s offers of help went back at least as far as November 2015. Michael Cohen told the Office of Special Counsel that at that time a Russian national who claimed connections to the Russian government “could offer the campaign ‘political synergy’”.
This Russian national also proposed a meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which “could have a ‘phenonmal’ impact ‘not only in political but in a business dimension as well.’”
While it is illegal for a foreign person, country, or entity to provide anything of value to a campaign or make expenditures to influence a U.S. election, and while it is illegal for a U.S. citizen to solicit or receive such assistance, there is no burden
for Americans to report offers of assistance. That needs to change. Had law enforcement been alerted to these attempts by foreign government actors to assist candidates in our election, we could have perhaps discovered Russia’s vast and sophisticated
measures to attack our democracy much earlier. It is also important we make a statement that future foreign attempts to influence our elections will not be tolerated.
That is why Senator Blumenthal and I have introduced the Duty to Report Act. First, this bill would make it unlawful for federal campaigns or candidates to fail to report information on meetings with foreign countries or their agents and offers
of assistance from foreign nationals or entities to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Meetings held in an official capacity would not have to be reported.
Second, H.R. 2424 would make it unlawful for campaigns for any office, as well as the candidates, their immediately family members, and campaign staff, to fail to report offers of assistance from foreign nationals or entities to the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI). The bill clarifies that such assistance includes offers of opposition research for purposes of reporting to the FBI and FEC.
Let us make clear to foreign actors and governments that law enforcement will be made aware of efforts to attack our democracy. Join us as a cosponsor of the
Duty to Report Act and stand up for U.S. elections free from foreign interference. If you would like to cosponsor, or if you have any questions, please contact Andrew Ginsburg at
Member of Congress
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