Like Causes?

Install the App
TRY NOW

senate Bill S. 1247

Should Candidates & Campaigns Report Offers of Election Assistance by Foreign Gov'ts to the FBI?

Argument in favor

As the Mueller report and FBI Director Christopher Wray have made clear, it’s necessary to create more protection against foreign interference in political campaigns. Requiring candidates and campaigns to report foreign agents’ offers of assistance will help prevent election interference by foreign adversaries.

RjGoodman's Opinion
···
09/28/2019
I am saddened that we even have to codify this. I would like to think that this would be common sense, but with this group of legislators, it appears not. We must protect our country, our democracy and our election process. This will help.
Like (128)
Follow
Share
jimK's Opinion
···
09/28/2019
It is in the interests of many foreign adversaries to influence the electorate to either vote for someone that has positions that align with their interests or someone known to be undisciplined and erratic in order to undermine faith in our government. tump was a win-win for the Russians who employed huge social media incursions to shape opinions of voters in key electoral districts- aided by Manafort's hand delivered and strategically detailed polling data. trump himself hired Cambridge Analytica to use militarily developed and proven psi-ops tactics to target key voter demographics with personally targeted messages to people whose psych profiles (developed by analysis of where they lived and public records)- showed them to be susceptible to influenced opinion change. This kind of stuff is really scary and election assistance from any foreign agent can open doors to this kind of intrusion. YES, absolutely- any offer of aid to any candidate (or seated politician) must be reported and investigated if we are going to ever have faith that our elections are a fair and honest representation of our people's wishes.
Like (87)
Follow
Share
B l's Opinion
···
09/28/2019
It is already the LAW But tRump thinks he is above the LAW Impeach him when it comes before the senate vote: If you are silent that means to me you are complicit. When does our country mean more to you than Party? Right is Right, Wrong is still Wrong.
Like (52)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) already prohibits political campaigns from accepting help from foreign nationals, so there’s no need for this bill. Additionally, receiving information from foreign governments could be construed as “oppo research,” not acquiescing to foreign interference in U.S elections.

Joe's Opinion
···
09/28/2019
What I think is an ADULT should go to Congress and tell the children that party time is over, open their books and get to WORK!! This ridiculousness is making our Republic the laughing stock of the world!! Americans are PISSED. Expel Shiffty!! GET TO WORK and support our elected President!!
Like (29)
Follow
Share
JTJ's Opinion
···
09/28/2019
Prosecute the Clintons for accepting foreign assistance with that phony dossier. Enough with the double standards and immunity for corrupt democrats.
Like (20)
Follow
Share
Raymond 's Opinion
···
09/28/2019
@jkay. This is actually already law. And seems to me You Leftist that Creepy Uncle Joe Biden has already broken the law. As do most Democrats and Republicans. Our country has been taken over by Swamp people. People who are not elected but have been in Washington DC for generations. When Trump said drain the Swamp it’s people LIKE YOU that confuse the issue and the TRUTH because you’re so small minded and really do have Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Like (5)
Follow
Share

What is Senate Bill S. 1247?

This bill would require each candidate for public office (and certain affiliated individuals) to notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) upon receiving unsolicited information (or an offer of such information) about another candidate for the same office from a source the candidate knows to be a foreign power. An exception would be made in cases when the candidate reasonably believes the information is in the public domain or the information could not give an advantage to the receiving candidate. This bill would also require disclosure of all meetings between candidates or campaign officials and agents of foreign governments, other than those held in a candidate’s official capacity as an elected representative.

Federal campaigns, candidates, and PACs would be required to report foreign agents’ offers of assistance. An individual who fails to comply with this bill could be held criminally liable.

Under current law, it is illegal for any foreign national, country, or entity to provide anything of value to a campaign or make an expenditure to influence a U.S. election. It is also illegal for a U.S. citizen to solicit or accept such assistance. But there is no legal requirement for Americans to report offers of such assistance.

Impact

Political campaigns; candidates for public office; FBI; foreign governments; agents of foreign governments; and foreign governments’ attempts to interfere in U.S. elections.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1247

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced this bill to help protect our elections from foreign interference by requiring federal campaign officials to notify law enforcement if agents of another government offer them assistance:

“A duty to report foreign sabotage of our democracy is a matter of simple patriotism and common sense — but now needs to be an explicit legal duty too. If a foreign adversary offers a candidate for U.S. office illegal assistance, the first call should be to federal law enforcers not to criminal co-conspirators. The faster the FEC and FBI know a foreign adversary is attempting to interfere in an election, the more quickly they can respond and guard against further attacks. Protecting the integrity of our elections – the pillar of our democracy – should be bipartisan priority.”

In a separate statement, Sen. Blumenthal called this bill a “direct response” to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

“It’s a direct response to the attack by the Russians on our 2016 elections and the prospect of their continuing attempt to undermine our democracy. It very simply imposes a clear and indisputable legal duty on federal campaigns and candidates and others to avoid what happened in the Trump campaign.”

House sponsor Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who has introduced this bill in both the 115th and 116th Congresses, says

“When foreign adversaries seek to meddle in our elections, silence is not an option. The most basic function of government is to protect its people from foreign attack.  If we neglect that obligation - or flat out refuse it - then we are not actually a government. This is part of a series of reforms to demonstrate we are a government that will respond to foreign interference. This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue – any of our nation’s foes could try to tip the scale on behalf of any party’s candidate. We’re all Americans, and we have to behave that way.  Most of us probably hoped this would be common sense, but unfortunately, it seems we must specify it. This isn’t meant as a rebuke to President Trump or as an effort to relitigate the 2016 election—it’s a preventative, defensive measure for the future.”

Opponents of this and similar bills argue that they don’t draw a distinction between official government representatives specifically and foreign nationals in general. In testimony to the Senate, Attorney General William Barr acknowledged that a campaign should report contact by a foreign intelligence service — but he specifically said so only about a foreign intelligence service, and not about any foreign nationals, regardless of their ties or lack thereof to foreign intelligence services.

In a June 2019 interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous, President Trump argued that accepting foreign countries’ “dirt” on opponents is information-gathering, not an act of foreign interference in elections. Considering information offered by foreign agents, he said, “I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”

The Federal Election Campaign (FEC) prohibits foreign nationals from either “directly or indirectly” making “a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value” to a campaign. It also makes it illegal for people associated with political campaigns to “solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation” from a foreign national. Under current law, people who “knowingly and willfully engage” in prohibited activities with foreign nationals may be subject to an FEC enforcement action, criminal prosecution, or both. David Sklansky, a criminal law professor at Stanford, say this means that “[s]oliciting campaign assistance from a foreign agent is illegal.” However, the definition of “anything of value” is usually applied only to things like actual monetary contributions. Offers of information — such as opposition research — aren’t covered.

This legislation has 21 Senate cosponsors, including 20 Democrats and one Independent. Its House companion, sponsored by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), has 48 Democratic House cosponsors. As of August 30, 2019, neither bill had received a committee vote.

Most Republicans are unlikely to support this legislation, as they view it as primarily targeted as an attack against Trump.

This legislation was filed as an amendment to the Senate’s version of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (S.1790). However, it ultimately wasn’t included in the legislation. 


Of NoteAfter a lengthy investigation of interactions between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia, special counsel Robert Mueller concluded that while Russia sought to help Trump win the presidential election, the Trump campaign didn’t directly assist in the process. In his report, Mueller wrote:

“Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit form a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

However, while the Mueller report didn’t establish that the Trump campaign “criminally conspired on illegal Russian election interference” or “coordinated with Russia through either an active or tacit agreement,” it did prove that the Trump campaign was actively seeking to cultivate a relationship with the Russian government, and was willing to work with it to get damaging information about Trump’s political opponents.

In April 2019, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that Russia will attempt to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. In a speech at the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, Wray said that 2018 was the “dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Moussa81)

AKA

Duty To Report Act

Official Title

A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require reporting to the Federal Election Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation of offers by foreign nationals to make prohibited contributions, donations, expenditures, or disbursements, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Rules and Administration
    IntroducedApril 30th, 2019
    I am saddened that we even have to codify this. I would like to think that this would be common sense, but with this group of legislators, it appears not. We must protect our country, our democracy and our election process. This will help.
    Like (128)
    Follow
    Share
    What I think is an ADULT should go to Congress and tell the children that party time is over, open their books and get to WORK!! This ridiculousness is making our Republic the laughing stock of the world!! Americans are PISSED. Expel Shiffty!! GET TO WORK and support our elected President!!
    Like (29)
    Follow
    Share
    It is in the interests of many foreign adversaries to influence the electorate to either vote for someone that has positions that align with their interests or someone known to be undisciplined and erratic in order to undermine faith in our government. tump was a win-win for the Russians who employed huge social media incursions to shape opinions of voters in key electoral districts- aided by Manafort's hand delivered and strategically detailed polling data. trump himself hired Cambridge Analytica to use militarily developed and proven psi-ops tactics to target key voter demographics with personally targeted messages to people whose psych profiles (developed by analysis of where they lived and public records)- showed them to be susceptible to influenced opinion change. This kind of stuff is really scary and election assistance from any foreign agent can open doors to this kind of intrusion. YES, absolutely- any offer of aid to any candidate (or seated politician) must be reported and investigated if we are going to ever have faith that our elections are a fair and honest representation of our people's wishes.
    Like (87)
    Follow
    Share
    It is already the LAW But tRump thinks he is above the LAW Impeach him when it comes before the senate vote: If you are silent that means to me you are complicit. When does our country mean more to you than Party? Right is Right, Wrong is still Wrong.
    Like (52)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes reporting corruption should still be considered the RIGHT THING TO DO.
    Like (42)
    Follow
    Share
    Obviously we can no longer trust people running for office to NOT solicit foreign governments, institutions and oligarchs from manipulating our free elections. What should be common sense for anyone wanting to go into public service must be criminalized or states and the federal government will become beholden to non US interests. It is well documented how leaders in other countries are tasking their wealthiest citizens to purchase and/or invest in US businesses to gain power. We see this happening in some Red States already. Our democracy and freedom are at stake.
    Like (29)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes, candidates and their election campaign leaders should report any and all offers of election help by non USA entities and nations to the FBI immediately. There should be no wavering. It is a black snd white issue.
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    🤔 Who’d want to be opposed to this legislation being passed. 🤔 As the Mueller report and FBI Director Christopher Wray have made clear, it’s necessary to create more protection against foreign interference in political campaigns. Requiring candidates and campaigns to report foreign agents’ offers of assistance will help prevent election interference by foreign adversaries. SneakyPete.......... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 9.28.19........
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    Donald Trump has taught us that his corruption and unscrupulous behavior make this law necessary. Vote yes.
    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
    Prosecute the Clintons for accepting foreign assistance with that phony dossier. Enough with the double standards and immunity for corrupt democrats.
    Like (20)
    Follow
    Share
    It’s already the law, this is a dumb question! Since we are at the point where politicians can’t put country over winning, we are morally bankrupt. We need our politicians to put people over donations as well. Just so you all know, Al Gore got a package containing a video of Bush practicing debate questions. He and his campaign immediately turned it over to the FBI.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    No question
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    It's too bad that it needs to become a law, but so be it.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    Absolutely! This should not even be a question. It is illegal for a campaign for any US office to take assistance from a foreign government to aid that campaigns election to office! Period end of story so LOCK HIM UP!!!!
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes. Report offers of elections interference/ influence from foreign entities.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    The fact that we have to codify and create a law that enforces candidates to report this to the FBI is so very sad. But, we must protect our elections, our democracy, and our freedom.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    Why should there be ANY question?! If a foreign power offers election interference, it MUST be immediately reported!
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    File this under ‘D’ for ‘duh’. Why haven’t they been in the past? For me this is almost level with treasonous.
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes. We have to do this. Before, we could trust basic integrity and decency would compel candidates to do this. But Trump and the current iteration of the Republican Party has taught us that we must codify this into law. Just in case a political party in the future once again decides to throw themselves, body and soul, behind another sociopath.
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    No foreign government should be allowed to have a say in any way to our elections.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    MORE