More Than 185 Members of House of Representatives Join Effort to Create Independent Commission to Investigate Foreign Interference in U.S. Elections

January 6, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), the Ranking Member of the CIA Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-07), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, are reintroducing their Protecting Our Democracy Act to establish an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in the 2016 election.

They originally introduced their legislation on December 7, 2016, at the end of the 114th Congress.  Since then, they have obtained the support of more than 185 Members of the House of Representatives, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, and all members of House Democratic leadership; the Ranking Members of all House Committees; and all Democratic members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Their bill would create a 12-member, bipartisan, independent commission empowered to interview witnesses, obtain documents, issue subpoenas, and receive public testimony to examine attempts by the Russian government or others to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or undermine trust in last year’s U.S. elections.  The commission would examine any similar efforts by any other foreign governments or entities and would issue a final report with recommendations to Congress and the President within 18 months of enactment.

“There’s overwhelming agreement across America that our democracy was attacked this past presidential election.  Now everyone’s asking what our nation’s leaders will do about it.  Our legislation answers that question by identifying who was responsible and telling Americans what we will do to secure our next election,” said Ranking Member Swalwell.  “We continue to seek Republican cosponsors because this must be about country, not party. If we do nothing, we are telling the world our elections are open for influence by the most aggressive meddler. With 17 intelligence agencies agreeing that Russia interfered in our election, we most move quickly to have an independent, bipartisan, de-politicized commission to fully examine the circumstances, inform the public of its findings, and develop a plan to prevent this from ever happening again.”

“The most senior leaders of our Intelligence Community testified yesterday that Russia interfered in our elections, which Republicans and Democrats alike have compared to an act of war,” said Ranking Member Cummings. “This grave threat calls for a truly bipartisan and independent commission that can put politics aside and conduct a complete review of this interference in our democratic process, and make concrete recommendations to protect our nation from being undermined by any foreign power.  We cannot allow this to become the new normal for what we will accept as Americans.”

The 12 members of the independent commission would be appointed within 90 days of enactment of the Swalwell-Cummings bill by the Speaker of the House (3), Senate Majority Leader (3), House Minority Leader (3), and Senate Minority Leader (3). The commission would choose a chair and vice chair of different parties.  No federal officers or employees would be eligible to serve on the commission. Appointees would be prominent U.S. citizens with national recognition and significant depth of experience in governmental service, law enforcement, armed services, law, public administration, intelligence gathering, foreign affairs, cybersecurity, and federal elections.

This week, a bipartisan group of former senior intelligence and defense officials – including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former Acting Director of Central Intelligence Michael Morrell, and former Member of Congress and 9/11 Commission Vice Chair Lee Hamilton – sent a letter urging Congress to create an “independent, bipartisan commission” to “understand fully and publicly what happened, how we were so vulnerable, and what we can do to protect our democracy in future elections.”

The bill’s cosponsors include:

1.    Eric Swalwell
2.    Elijah Cummings
3.    Sheila Jackson Lee
4.    Alma Adams
5.    Pete Aguilar
6.    Nanette Barragan
7.    Karen Bass
8.    Joyce Beatty
9.    Xavier Becerra
10.    Don Beyer
11.    Sanford Bishop
12.    Earl Blumenauer
13.    Lisa Blunt-Rochester
14.    Suzanne Bonamici
15.    Madeleine Bordallo
16.    Brendan Boyle
17.    Robert Brady
18.    Anthony Brown
19.    Julia Brownley
20.    Cheri Bustos
21.    G.K. Butterfield
22.    Michael Capuano
23.    Salud Carbajal
24.    Tony Cardenas
25.    Matt Cartwright
26.    Andre Carson
27.    Kathy Castor
28.    Joaquin Castro
29.    Judy Chu
30.    David Cicilline
31.    Katherine Clark
32.    Yvette Clarke
33.    William Lacy Clay
34.    Emanuel Cleaver
35.    James Clyburn
36.    Steve Cohen
37.    Gerald E Connolly
38.    John Conyers, Jr.
39.    Jim Cooper
40.    J. Luis Correa
41.    Jim Costa
42.    Joe Courtney
43.    Joseph Crowley
44.    Henry Cuellar
45.    Danny K. Davis
46.    Susan Davis
47.    Peter DeFazio
48.    Diana DeGette
49.    John Delaney
50.    Suzan DelBene
51.    Rosa DeLauro
52.    Mark DeSaulnier
53.    Theodore Deutch
54.    Debbie Dingell
55.    Lloyd Doggett
56.    Michael Doyle
57.    Keith Ellison
58.    Eliot Engel
59.    Anna Eshoo
60.    Adriano Espaillat
61.    Elizabeth Esty
62.    Dwight Evans
63.    Bill Foster
64.    Lois Frankel
65.    Marcia Fudge
66.    Tulsi Gabbard
67.    Ruben Gallego
68.    John Garamendi
69.    Vicente Gonzalez
70.    Josh Gottheimer
71.    Al Green
72.    Gene Green
73.    Raul Grijalva
74.    Luis Gutiérrez
75.    Colleen Hanabusa
76.    Alcee Hastings
77.    Denny Heck
78.    Brian Higgins
79.    Jim Himes
80.    Steny Hoyer
81.    Jared Huffman
82.    Pramila Jayapal
83.    Hakeem Jeffries
84.    Eddie Bernice Johnson
85.    Hank Johnson
86.    Marcy Kaptur
87.    William Keating
88.    Robin Kelly
89.    Joseph P. Kennedy III
90.    Ro Khanna
91.    Ruben Kihuen
92.    Daniel Kildee
93.    Derek Kilmer
94.    Ron Kind
95.    Raja Krishnamoorthi
96.    Ann McLane Kuster
97.    James Langevin
98.    Rick Larsen
99.    John Larson
100.    Brenda Lawrence
101.    Barbara Lee
102.    Sander Levin
103.    John Lewis
104.    Ted Lieu
105.    Dan Lipinski
106.    David Loebsack
107.    Zoe Lofgren
108.    Alan Lowenthal
109.    Nita Lowey
110.    Ben Ray Lujan
111.    Michelle Lujan Grisham
112.    Stephen Lynch
113.    Carolyn Maloney
114.    Sean Patrick Maloney
115.    Doris Matsui
116.    Betty McCollum
117.    A. Donald McEachin
118.    James P. McGovern
119.    Jerry McNerney
120.    Gregory Meeks
121.    Grace Meng
122.    Seth Moulton
123.    Gwen Moore
124.    Stephanie Murphy
125.    Jerrold Nadler
126.    Grace Napolitano
127.    Richard Neal
128.    Donald Norcross
129.    Eleanor Holmes Norton
130.    Tom O’Halleran
131.    Beto O’Rourke
132.    Frank Pallone
133.    Jimmy Panetta
134.    Bill Pascrell
135.    Donald Payne, Jr.
136.    Nancy Pelosi
137.    Ed Perlmutter
138.    Scott Peters
139.    Collin Peterson
140.    Chellie Pingree
141.    Stacey Plaskett
142.    Mark Pocan
143.    Jared Polis
144.    David Price
145.    Mike Quigley
146.    Jamie Raskin
147.    Kathleen Rice
148.    Cedric Richmond
149.    Jacky Rosen
150.    Lucille Roybal-Allard
151.    Raul Ruiz
152.    C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
153.    Bobby Rush
154.    Tim Ryan
155.    Gregorio Sablan
156.    Linda Sanchez
157.    John Sarbanes
158.    Janice Schakowsky
159.    Adam Schiff
160.    Bradley Schneider
161.    Bobby Scott
162.    Jose Serrano
163.    Terri Sewell
164.    Carol Shea-Porter
165.    Brad Sherman
166.    Kyrsten Sinema
167.    Albio Sires
168.    Louise Slaughter
169.    Adam Smith
170.    Darren Soto
171.    Jackie Speier
172.    Thomas Suozzi
173.    Mark Takano
174.    Bennie Thompson
175.    Mike Thompson
176.    Dina Titus
177.    Paul Tonko
178.    Norma Torres
179.    Niki Tsongas
180.    Juan Vargas
181.    Marc Veasey
182.    Filemon Vela
183.    Nydia Velazquez
184.    Debbie Wasserman Schultz
185.    Maxine Waters
186.    Bonnie Watson Coleman
187.    Peter Welch
188.    Frederica Wilson
189.    John Yarmuth