Swalwell Introduces Duty to Report Act to Protect Elections from Foreign Interference

June 7, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Ranking Member of the CIA Subcommittee for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, on Thursday introduced the Duty to Report Act to help protect our elections from foreign interference.

The Duty to Report Act would make it a crime for federal candidates, their immediate families, or people involved with their campaigns to fail to notify the FBI if any of them are told about, offered, or receive in an unsolicited way non-public, materially significant information about another candidate for the same office which they know or should know is from a foreign power or the agent of a foreign power.

“For years, we’ve advised our citizens, ‘If you see something, say something’ to prevent terrorist attacks, and the same should apply to safeguarding our elections against foreign manipulation,” Swalwell said. “The hours upon hours of witness interviews in which I participated during the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation made clear the need for such legislation. Being a candidate for public office requires taking responsibility for helping to ensure that our democracy’s foundations aren’t attacked by our nation’s adversaries.”

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.  Donald Trump Jr. was told that Russia was offering him this information as part of its support for his father’s candidacy, but instead of reacting with concern or alarm that a foreign power was trying to meddle in a domestic U.S. election, he said he would “love” to get his hands on this information. He, then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner later met with the Russian representatives, two years ago this Saturday, June 9.

Another Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, also was told that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton, in the form of “thousands of emails.” He also failed to alert anyone that our election could be targeted by Russia. 

“Russia clearly tried to help a Republican campaign in 2016, but that nation or some other could just as easily try to swing a future election some other way, so this is not a partisan issue,” Swalwell said. “We must make it clear that no foreign attempts to influence our elections will be tolerated.”

“As maddening as the Russia investigation has been, we can’t just agonize over it – we must act on what we’ve learned, and this bill does that.”

The Duty to Report Act’s original co-sponsors include Reps. Steve Cohen, D-TN; Ted Lieu, D-CA; André Carson, D-IN; Mike Quigley, D-IL; Joaquin Castro, D-TX; Yvette Clarke, D-NY; Ruben Gallego, D-AZ; John Garamendi, D-CA; Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC; Tim Ryan, D-OH; Val Demings, D-FL; Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY; Jackie Speier, D-CA; and Brendan Boyle, D-PA.

Click here to read the full text of the bill.

Click here to read Rep. Swalwell's op-ed on the bill in The Atlantic.