HFAC Democrats Offer Sanctions Bill Targeting Election Meddlers

Engel-Connolly Legislation Would Respond to Election Interference

December 21, 2016

WASHINGTON—Democratic members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs have introduced legislation that would impose sanctions on any foreign person or entity found to interfere illegally with a U.S. election. The Protect American Democracy Act (H.R. 6533), authored by Ranking Member Eliot L.  Engel (NY) and Representative Gerald E. Connolly (VA), would bar entry to the United States and freeze U.S.-based assets of anyone involved in such interference.

All 19 Democratic members of the Foreign Affairs Committee are original cosponsors of the bill.

“We need to know exactly who was behind the foreign interference in our election and we need to respond swiftly and effectively. We also need to make sure governments don’t view future U.S. elections as an easy target. This legislation is a no-brainer. It sends a clear message that the United States won't stand quietly by as Russia or any other foreign power tries to undermine our democracy,” said Rep. Engel. “The Democrats on the Foreign Affairs Committee are speaking with a unified voice, and I hope members on both sides of the aisle will do the right thing by getting behind this legislation and other efforts and respond to this attack on the United States.”

“There is a broad consensus among the U.S. intelligence community that Russia directed a deliberate effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. That should trouble every American," said Rep. Connolly. "One of our most cherished institutions, democratic elections free of foreign interference, has been attacked. Congress must come together in a bipartisan fashion to demonstrate that there is a cost to such attacks on American democratic institutions. I am glad to join with Ranking Member Engel to introduce legislation that would publicly identify and authorize sanctions against foreign persons and countries that unlawfully interfere in U.S. federal elections. This situation demands transparency and decisive action."

The Protect American Democracy Act would require the Secretary of State to compile a public list of foreign persons and entities who have, since January 1, 2015, unlawfully interfered in U.S. elections for federal office. Those on the list would be barred from entering the United States and have their financial assets in this country frozen.  The bill also requires the Secretary to submit a report to Congress after each federal election summarizing any foreign interference in the previous cycle.