“This is the second time that I have come to the floor this week to urge the Senate to take action on election security legislation. It has been 1006 days since Russia attacked us in 2016, something that has been confirmed by all of President Trump’s top intelligence agencies. In fact former Director Coats actually said they’re getting bolder,” Klobuchar said in remarks from the Senate floor.
“The next major elections are just three hundred seventy seven days away. We must take action now to secure our elections. I know that Senator Wyden will be addressing the actual hacking of our election equipment, which is so important as well as other issues, but I am focused on this propaganda issue, this disinformation campaign that we have seen from the Russians and the Honest Ads Act, which is part of the bill that I will be asking for consent on, the SHIELD Act - which is going to be passed by the House today. It includes a number of measures, including provisions to:
“Close loopholes to stop foreign spending on issue ads in our elections, boost disclosure and transparency requirements, and help stop bad actors from using deceptive practices to mislead voters. Now that may all sound like a list of policy issues, but let me just make it very specific.
“Here's one example of literally millions. In the last election an ad was discovered that was paid for in rubles. It had been paid for in rubles before the election and happened and we did not know about it too long after the election. It was the face of an African-American woman, an innocent woman in Chicago. She later called our office and said, ‘I don't know where they got my face.’ They put her face on a Facebook ad that went to African-American Facebook pages in swing states. This is what the Russians did. Her picture was there and it said, ‘Don't wait in line to vote for Hillary Clinton. You can text your vote at...’ and it gave a five digit number. That's a crime. That’s a crime because they're suppressing the vote. They're telling a voter to cast their vote in a way that will not register the vote. That is what we're talking about here, propaganda.
“And yeah, it hurt one side in this 2016 election, but the next time it could be someone else on the other side of the aisle. Fundamental to our democracy and our founding fathers was this simple idea that we would determine our fate in America. That we would not let foreign powers influence our elections. That is what this is about. It's about protecting our election hardware and infrastructure, but it is also about protecting us from this disinformation campaign.
“All of this really bad stuff and I don't think my colleagues are interested in protecting the big social media companies, I hope this isn't their goal.
“I hope that their goal is to protect Americans so that they can determine their own fate in an election. So with that I ask that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of S.2669, the Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy. Otherwise known as the SHIELD Act which was introduced earlier today. Further that the bill be considered, read three times and passed. And the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate."
President: “Is there objection?”
Senator Blackburn: “Mr. President, I object.”
“That's very unfortunate given how soon the elections are and what a difference we could make, what a difference we could make, especially with the disinformation campaigns. And I hope my colleagues change their mind. The Honest Ads Act is a bipartisan bill. A bipartisan bill with Senator Graham, the chair, Republican chair of the Judiciary Committee. And we must act. Thank you. I yield the floor.”