Shaheen on Senate Floor: RT America and Sputnik Must Register as Foreign Agents

November 08, 2017

**SHAHEEN ON HER LEGISLATION TO ENFORCE FOREIGN AGENTS REGISTRATION ACT: “Let’s give the Department of Justice the tools it needs to investigate and expose RT America, and to fight back against the Kremlin’s interference in our democracy.” **

Watch the remarks here

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke on the Senate floor today to discuss her bipartisan legislation to strengthen compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and give the Department of Justice new and necessary authority to compel foreign organizations to produce documentation to confirm funding sources and foreign connections. It has been reported that the FBI is investigating Sputnik, the Russian-backed news agency, for violations of FARA. Recently, the Department of Justice also asked RT America to register as a foreign agent, a request that has been rejected by RT America. In her remarks, Shaheen argued that in light of recent testimony from social media companies on the lengths that the Kremlin went to in order to deceptively spread divisive propaganda, the Department of Justice must be given the tools it needs to immediately investigate. “No organization, including RT America, has the right to conceal a foreign funding source and thumb its nose at requests from our Department of Justice,” said Shaheen. “And the American people have a right to know if RT America is a Russian propaganda organ that takes its direction from the Kremlin.”

During her remarks, Shaheen pointed to specific Russian propaganda efforts aimed at influencing U.S. and European public opinion. “Since the publication of the intelligence community’s January report on Russia’s interference in our 2016 presidential election, we have learned that Moscow spent millions of dollars buying ads on social media sites and search engines, often using the very clips aired by [RT America] on its YouTube channel… These are not just random examples of fake news, these stories are part and parcel of a broader influence campaign designed and directed by the Kremlin’s leadership and peddled by government-funded trolls in St. Petersburg and other front organizations.” 

Senator Shaheen’s bipartisan Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act, introduced with Senator Todd Young (R-IN), gives the Department of Justice broader authority to compel organizations like Sputnik, RT America and others to produce documentation on funding sources and foreign connections.