Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

Democrats to Launch Fresh Push to Counter Foreign Interference in Elections

June 13, 2019
In The News

House Democrats are readying a major legislative push focused on securing elections, a response to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings of Russian interference in the 2016 election that took on new resonance after President Trump said he would be willing to take dirt on a political opponent from a foreign government. Legislation under discussion would, among other things, bar political campaigns from sharing private material with foreign governments, require them to report offers of foreign help and clarify that it is illegal to seek to influence U.S. elections by conspiring with foreign nationals…. The effort, the Democrats said, is meant to be separate from the polarizing congressional investigations into the other part of Mueller’s findings, describing potential obstruction of justice by Trump. Instead, it will focus on closing gaps identified in the first part of the report. “It’s like this giant billboard screaming at members of Congress: Do something to protect this democracy,” Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), who is playing a leading role in assembling the legislation, said of the report. “It’s basically a manual on what we ought to do, what we gotta look out for in terms of the next effort to intervene or interfere or meddle in our elections…. ” Democrats are betting that focusing a spotlight on these issues will force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to act. “Maybe we can push him to be more engaged, and I think that’s part of the plan,” Sarbanes said. “Mueller reported on this. We’re grabbing it. We’re running with it. We’re going to make proposals to try and do something real.”