Swalwell and Cummings Introduce Bill to Create Independent Bipartisan Commission to Investigate Foreign Interference in U.S. Elections
WASHINGTON, DC—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, introduced the Protecting Our Democracy Act to establish the National Commission on Foreign Interference in the 2016 Election.
The 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 and others to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or sow distrust in this year’s U.S. elections. The commission — which would examine similar efforts by any other foreign governments or entities — would issue a final report with recommendations for future security protections to Congress and the President within 18 months of the bill’s enactment.
“This past election, the principles of our democracy were attacked. We owe it to our constituents to defend the integrity of our representative democracy, starting with finding out what exactly happened and how we prevent it from ever happening again,” said Ranking Member Swalwell. “While our intelligence agencies have concluded with high confidence that Russia meddled in America’s elections, to what degree and whether other state or non-state actors were involved remains unresolved. Americans of all political parties are rightfully worried and deserve answers. To protect our democracy, we are calling for a fact-based, independent, bipartisan-appointed commission on foreign interference in the 2016 election.”
“Regardless of whether you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else, Russia’s attacks on our election are an attempt to degrade our democracy and should chill every American—Democratic, Republican, or Independent—to the core,” said Ranking Member Cummings. “This commission will conduct a truly bipartisan and comprehensive review of these attacks and offer specific recommendations to prevent future attacks on our electoral process.”
The scope of the commission’s investigation would include computer hacking activity that targeted the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman John Podesta, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell; the scanning of electoral systems in Arizona, Illinois and Florida; and efforts by any foreign entity to produce, disseminate, or promote fake news involving the U.S. election.
The 12 members of the commission would be appointed within 90 days of enactment by the Speaker of the House (3), Senate Majority Leader (3), House Minority Leader (3), and Senate Minority Leader (3), and 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.
Click here to read the text of the bill.