Shaheen Joins Warner on Amendment to Annual Defense Bill to Mandate Reporting of Foreign Interference in U.S. Elections

June 20, 2019

**Follows last week’s unanimous consent request, which was blocked by Senate Republicans **

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), the lead Democrat of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on an amendment to the fiscal year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – the annual defense bill – that would require presidential campaigns to report foreign interference in U.S. elections. This amendment follows Senator Warner’s attempt last week to pass the legislation by unanimous consent, which Senator Shaheen has cosponsored. The legislation was ultimately blocked by Senate Republicans.

“We know Russia attacked our 2016 elections and that this assault on our democracy is ongoing,” said Shaheen. “By claiming that he doesn’t need to report information provided by a foreign government, President Trump has sent an unmistakable message to our adversaries: the 2020 election is open season for interference. Congress should be compelled to work in a bipartisan manner to safeguard our elections and uphold our democracy. Majority Leader McConnell needs to immediately end his blockade of legislation to protect our democratic institutions. The defense of our country must not be obstructed.”

The amendment, based on the standalone Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections (FIRE) Act, would require presidential campaigns to disclose attempts at foreign elections interference to the appropriate federal authorities at the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  

This amendment requires presidential campaigns to report only contacts with foreign nationals offering explicit assistance that is already forbidden under existing law, or offers to collaborate or coordinate with a foreign government or agent thereof. Routine contacts with foreign nationals, including meetings on official government business, personal conversations, contact with journalists, or contact with non-citizens expressing political views, including conversations with DREAMers, would continue to be exempt from any reporting requirements.  

The amendment is also co-sponsored by Senators Cory Bennet (D-CO) and Angus King (I-ME).