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house Bill H.R. 2353

Should Political Campaigns Have a Duty to Refuse & Report Campaign Assistance Offered by Foreign Gov’ts?

Argument in favor

As the Mueller report makes clear, it’s necessary to create more protection against foreign interference in political campaigns. Creating an affirmative duty to refuse and report election campaign assistance from foreign governments and their agents serves this purpose.

Sarah's Opinion
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05/29/2019
Yes. Any contacts by foreign governments, foreign business interests, and other foreign agents should be prohibited in elections. And, while we are at it, dark money groups like Citizens United should be required to reveal donors so we know who is funding these candidates.
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DrCindyBean's Opinion
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05/29/2019
Yes. Political campaigns must refuse help from foreign entities and they must report any such offers to FBI and National security professionals. !!! Anyone who actually cares about our country knows this and will do this - but since you have corrupt, treasoning traitor trump types running for office- it needs to be spelled out in black letter law. Now.
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jimK's Opinion
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05/29/2019
Absolutely, foreign entities have NO business trying to buy influence. I would extend this to stop corporate entities as well. I do not want to be part of a country “of the PAC, by the PAC, and for the PAC”
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Argument opposed

The Federal Election Commission already prohibits political campaigns from accepting help from foreign nationals, so there’s no need for this bill.

John's Opinion
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05/29/2019
A bill to waste time they already have laws in place. Just some congress person trying to trick voters in to thinking they are actually doing something instead of actually fixing real problems
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JTJ's Opinion
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05/30/2019
Hilarious! Democrats don’t seem too concerned about a phony Russian dossier to help the Hillary campaign. This bill is just more political garbage.
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Vanessa's Opinion
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05/30/2019
Redundant law. Look at the Nay description in Countable. Can you just affirm existing law instead of creating a new law?
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
    IntroducedApril 25th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2353?

This bill — the Duty to Refuse and Report Foreign Interference in American Elections Act of 2019 — would impose an affirmative duty to refuse an offer of election campaign assistance from any agent or entity acting on behalf of or in the interest of a foreign government. It’d also create a requirement to report any foreign government’s offer of assistance in campaign matters to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The duty to refuse and report would apply to candidates for federal political office and any persons working for or volunteering with a federal campaign.

Additionally, this bill would require the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to require candidates for election to federal office to certify their compliance with the above requirements on a quarterly basis.

Violations of this bill’s terms would carry a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $250,000.

Impact

Federal political campaigns; federal political campaign volunteers; federal political campaign staff; candidates for federal office; FBI; FEC; and foreign governments.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2353

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced this bill to protect U.S. elections from foreign interference:  

“As the Mueller Report and the unanimous Intelligence Community Assessment of the United States indicated, Russia conducted a sophisticated campaign to subvert our democracy with the goal of electing Donald Trump and defeating Hillary Clinton. The Mueller Report revealed that the Russians effectuated their goals by selectively disseminating stolen emails, with the end of maximizing the adverse impact this would have on Secretary Clinton’s electoral prospects. The Mueller Report further indicated that Russia’s misinformation efforts also included the proliferation fake online profiles on social media platforms, with the goal of echoing and amplifying politically divisive messages, so as to sow discord within the electorate and suppress the vote for Secretary Clinton. As the Mueller Report lays bare, the Trump Campaign knew what Russia was doing and welcomed that assistance, did nothing to discourage it, did not report it, denied its existence and knowingly and happily accepted the benefits of the hostile foreign interference. While some may tolerate this as awful but lawful conduct, I do not because it is deeply corrosive and injurious to our democracy. That is why I have introduced H.R. 2353, the ‘Duty to Refuse and Report Foreign Interference in American Elections Act of 2019.’ Upon enactment, this legislation imposes an affirmative duty: (1) to refuse any offer of election campaign assistance from any agent or entity acting on behalf or in the interest of a foreign government; and (2) to report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation any such offer of assistance from an agent or entity acting on behalf or in the interest of a foreign government. This duty to refuse and report applies to candidates and any person working for, or volunteering with, a candidate for election to federal office. The Act also requires the Federal Election Commission to require that a candidate for election to federal office must certify quarterly that he or she is compliance with the above requirements. Violation of the Act carries a penalty of not more than 5 years in prison and a fine of not more than $250,000. The threat to our country is real, as documented in detail in the Mueller Report and confirmed by the unanimous assessment of our nation’s Intelligence Community. And we currently face ongoing threats to our electoral apparatus by malicious state actors. Just this week, for example, the New York Times reported that the President’s Chief of Staff discouraged former Secretary of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen from sharing with the President intelligence about the serious threats Russia poses to the 2020 elections. Together with our nation’s shared experience during the 2016 election, it is clear that the time to write into the statute books the sensible notion that American elections are to be decided by American citizens, not foreign adversaries.”

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.”

This bill has 31 Democratic cosponsors.


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.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / vladans)

AKA

Duty to Refuse and Report Foreign Interference in American Elections Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require candidates for election for public office to refuse offers of assistance from foreign powers and to report such offers to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and for other purposes.

    Yes. Any contacts by foreign governments, foreign business interests, and other foreign agents should be prohibited in elections. And, while we are at it, dark money groups like Citizens United should be required to reveal donors so we know who is funding these candidates.
    Like (110)
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    Share
    A bill to waste time they already have laws in place. Just some congress person trying to trick voters in to thinking they are actually doing something instead of actually fixing real problems
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes. Political campaigns must refuse help from foreign entities and they must report any such offers to FBI and National security professionals. !!! Anyone who actually cares about our country knows this and will do this - but since you have corrupt, treasoning traitor trump types running for office- it needs to be spelled out in black letter law. Now.
    Like (58)
    Follow
    Share
    Absolutely, foreign entities have NO business trying to buy influence. I would extend this to stop corporate entities as well. I do not want to be part of a country “of the PAC, by the PAC, and for the PAC”
    Like (50)
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    We need full transparency regarding political contributions.
    Like (29)
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    Obviously. We don’t need foreign money influence in our democratic process.
    Like (27)
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    Yes. I agree. But I find it hard to believe that this isn’t already required.
    Like (27)
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    A real American would have gone straight to the fbi when offered that help from s foreign government. Russia offered the same help to Adlai Stevenson back in the 50s and he went straight to the fbi to report it. Of course when dealing with trump and his administration you are dealing with criminals who have no love for our country, only in lining their own pockets.
    Like (23)
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    That should and must be made illegal!
    Like (23)
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    It would make it just a bit clearer to DJT & Co and future dictators such as him that we really mean it when we say we do not want foreign influence in our elections and would deny him and those involved in his campaign any plausible deniability.
    Like (19)
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    Campaigns must refuse and report foreign help offers.
    Like (18)
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    i believe this is already how it is supposed to be. The Dump, however, seems to believe nothing can affect him. So we need to be in his face with this, in order for his feeble mind to comprehend. This should be for domestic contributions also. All PACS MUST DISCLOSE WHO THEIR DONORS ARE. NO MORE DARK MONEY. NO MORE LOBBYISTS OR THEIR MONEY. ONE POT, SPLIT WITH ALL!
    Like (18)
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    Since this administration did not recognize the laws in place, we have to make it clear that it is illegal to receive aid from foreign governments in regards to any election
    Like (16)
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    Mueller said today Russia definitely interfered in 2016 election so this needs to be made absolutely clear.
    Like (15)
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    Kind of a no brainer unless you are trying to be deceptive
    Like (15)
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    Hilarious! Democrats don’t seem too concerned about a phony Russian dossier to help the Hillary campaign. This bill is just more political garbage.
    Like (15)
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    By All means Yes Yes and Report All Violations.... Immediately As the Mueller report makes clear, it’s necessary to create more protection against foreign interference in political campaigns. Creating an affirmative duty to refuse and report election campaign assistance from foreign governments and their agents serves this purpose. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻🇺🇸👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 5*29*19....
    Like (14)
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    Redundant law. Look at the Nay description in Countable. Can you just affirm existing law instead of creating a new law?
    Like (13)
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    Yes, absolutely. Long overdue.
    Like (12)
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    Our government is decided by the people of the United States. Not the outside. For elected officials and those running to accept money from foreign bodies is completely and utterly criminal and unconstitutional.
    Like (10)
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