Rep. Crow Co-Leads Bill to Prevent Foreign Interference in U.S. Elections
Rep. Jason Crow (CO-06) helped introduced the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections (FIRE) Act, a bill that would help prevent foreign interference in U.S. elections by requiring political campaigns to report attempts by foreigners to influence U.S. elections to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and then the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While it is illegal to accept campaign donations or assistance from foreign entities, the FIRE Act stipulates that any foreign nationals attempting to make campaign contributions or offer information or coordination must be reported to federal authorities within a week. This bill would apply to all campaigns –– from presidential to state and local races. The bill will be referred to the Committee on House Administration.
In last week’s congressional testimony, Special Counsel Robert Mueller said he feared campaigns’ acceptance of foreign assistance would be “a new normal.” He underscored the threat of continued foreign interference in U.S. elections saying, “much more needs to be done in order to protect against these intrusions, not just by the Russians but others as well,” and, “they’re doing it as we sit here.” Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee also released the first section of their bipartisan report, detailing Russia’s widespread attempts to penetrate our election system.
“In 2016, we saw numerous examples of foreign actors seeking to influence our elections and prop up their candidate of choice. This is a direct threat to our democracy and threatens the integrity of our elections. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the FIRE Act, which would ensure that no campaign or candidate can claim ignorance when dealing with foreign actors and that we treat election security as a matter of national security,” said Crow.
Dedicated to transparency and accountability, Crow is one of the few members of Congress to release his daily congressional meetings. He is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1 and in October 2018 led a letter to Congress calling for an anti-corruption and reform bill to address outside influence in our elections to be a top priority for the 116th Congress.
The FIRE Act:
- Would require all campaign officials to report, within one week, any contacts with foreign nationals attempting to make campaign donations or otherwise coordinate with the campaign through the proffer of information or services.
- Campaigns would be required to implement a compliance system to monitor reportable foreign contacts with campaign representatives and to train all onboarding employees and other associates on their legal obligations.
- The candidate him or herself must certify that this compliance system is in place. The campaign would also be responsible for reporting applicable foreign contacts to the FEC, which would notify the FBI, and for preserving relevant records.
Sen. Mark Warner, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, introduced a similar bill in the Senate.