WASHINGTON – Today, Wednesday, October 23, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer voted to pass the Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy (SHIELD) Act, which includes bipartisan legislation backed by the Problem Solvers Caucus, which Gottheimer co-chairs, requiring an FEC audit after federal elections to determine the incidence of foreign money.
“Our democracy is founded on the central premise that every American has a voice in determining our leaders, without influence from foreign governments,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05).
The SHIELD Act contains important provisions to strengthen the laws that protect our elections and national security from foreign interference.
These protections include:
- A new requirement for candidates and political committees to notify the FBI and the FEC any time a foreign power contacts them to provide campaign assistance;
- The Honest Ads Act to ensure greater transparency for online political ads and their sponsors;
- Provisions to close major loopholes in the prohibition on spending by foreign governments for political ads to influence U.S. elections;
- A new prohibition banning spending by foreign nationals on State or local ballot initiatives and referenda;
- A new prohibition on anyone providing false information about voting rules and qualifications for voting and new strong penalties for voter intimidation.
- A prohibition codifying FEC rules that prevent foreign nationals from directing, controlling or participating in the decision-making process of any person about that person’s election-related activities.
In his testimony before Congress on July 24, 2019, Special Counsel Robert Mueller discussed ongoing Russian interference in our elections, stating, “They’re doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it in the next campaign.”
According to a New York Times article published on October 4, 2019, “The 2020 presidential election is still 13 months away, but already Iranians are following in the footsteps of Russia and have begun cyberattacks aimed at disrupting the campaigns.”
A bipartisan report issued on October 8, 2019 by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee reaffirmed the Mueller report in finding that Russia had targeted the 2016 presidential election as “part of a broader, sophisticated and ongoing information warfare campaign.”