07.23.18

Gardner Takes Further Action to Combat Russian Interference

Gardner Announces Sponsorship of the Bipartisan DETER Act 

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today that he became a cosponsor last week of the bipartisan Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act. The legislation sends a powerful message to Russia and any other foreign actor seeking to disrupt our elections:  if you attack American candidates, campaigns, or voting infrastructure, you will face severe consequences. The DETER Act uses the threat of powerful sanctions to dissuade hostile foreign powers from meddling in our elections by ensuring that they know well in advance that the costs will outweigh the benefits.

“As the U.S. intelligence services have reported, it is an incontrovertible fact that Russia sought to influence the 2016 elections in the United States – a fact that President Putin openly confirmed during the recent U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki,” Senator Gardner said. “We know Russia will try again, so we must also be forward thinking to prevent this assault on our democracy from ever happening again. As we get closer to our next elections, we should be making it clear to the KGB thug Vladimir Putin, and anyone else who dares meddle in our elections, that this type of behavior will never be tolerated and will be met with severe and immediate consequences.”

“In the face of unequivocal evidence that Russia worked to undermine our elections in 2016 and continued aggression from the Kremlin just four months until our next federal elections, we must take action,” said Senator Van Hollen. “The DETER Act would send a clear signal that attacks on our democracy will not be tolerated. We’re proud to announce this new support from our colleagues, and we hope the Senate will take up this bipartisan legislation without delay.”

“The most meaningful measure that we can take right now to protect our democracy is to pass the bipartisan DETER Act, which imposes specific and serious sanctions against foreign countries that meddle in our future elections. We must make sure Putin understands that we will not overlook his hostilities, and he will face punishing consequences if he tries to interfere in our elections again,” said Senator Rubio.

Additional cosponsors of Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) and Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla) legislation include Senators Mark R. Warner (D-Va), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-Del), Ben Sasse (R-Neb), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). 

BACKGROUND

Reporting Requirements

  • The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) must issue to Congress a determination on whether any foreign government has interfered in that election within one month after every federal election.

Actions That Will Elicit Retaliation

  • A foreign government, or an agent acting on its behalf, cannot purchase advertisements to influence an election, including online ads.
  • A foreign government, or an agent acting on its behalf, cannot use social and traditional media to spread significant amounts of false information to Americans.
  • A foreign government, or an agent acting on its behalf, cannot hack and release or modify election and campaign infrastructure, including voter registration databases and campaign emails
  • A foreign government, or an agent acting on its behalf, cannot block or otherwise hinder access to elections infrastructure, such as websites providing information on polling locations.

Russia-Specific Sanctions

  • If the DNI determines that the Kremlin has once again interfered in an American federal election, the bill mandates a set of severe sanctions that must be implement within ten days of the DNI's determination.
  • This includes sanctions on major sectors of the Russian economy, including finance, energy, defense, and metals and mining.
  • Every senior Russian political figure or oligarch, identified in the report required by the Countering America's Adversaries Act of 2017, will be blacklisted from entering the United States and will have their assets blocked.
  • The Administration is also required to work with the European Union to enlist their support in adopting a sanctions regime to broaden the impact.

Preparing for Other Potential Attacks

  • The DNI has identified China, Iran, and North Korea as our other major foreign government cyber threats, and they may also seek to exploit American vulnerabilities in the next election cycle.
  • The Administration should present Congress with a plan for preventing interference in our elections for each of these countries, and any other foreign state of significant concern.

 

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.