WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today released the following statement on the report issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee that concluded hackers affiliated with the Russian government conducted an unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign against states’ election infrastructure in the 2016 election.
“The report by my colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee is an important analysis of what we can do to prevent foreign adversaries from interfering in future elections—something we know they are trying to do right now. Many of the Committee’s recommendations are addressed in the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, including improving information sharing on election cybersecurity threats, expediting security clearances for election officials, creating and promoting election cybersecurity best practices, encouraging post-election audits, and having backup paper ballots.
“We know foreign adversaries are still targeting our upcoming elections, the open question is—how serious are we about preventing it from happening again? Based on Congress’ action so far, one thing is clear: we’re not serious enough. We need to pass my bipartisan Secure Elections Act to protect our democracy and make sure those on the front lines of administering elections have the resources and information they need to safeguard our election systems, replace outdated technology, and improve cyber-defenses.”
In March, Klobuchar and Lankford introduced the Secure Elections Act with Kamala Harris (D-CA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Burr (R-NC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to strengthen election cybersecurity in America and protect against foreign interference in future elections. The Secure Elections Act streamlines cybersecurity information-sharing between federal intelligence entities and state election agencies; provides security clearances to state election officials; and provides resources for states to upgrade election security. This bipartisan solution would bolster our election systems against future threats while protecting states’ primacy in running elections.
In August 2017, Senators Klobuchar and Graham introduced amendment 656 to the National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment would help combat foreign interference in our democracy by providing state and local governments with the information and resources they need to secure our election infrastructure from cyberattacks.
In October, Klobuchar introduced the Honest Ads Act with U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, to help prevent foreign interference in future elections and improve the transparency of online political advertisements. Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election by buying and placing political ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. The content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology. The Honest Ads Act would prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite.
Klobuchar and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) have also introduced the bipartisan Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act to strengthen disclosure by requiring federal campaigns to use existing credit card verification protocols to help verify that online credit card donations come from U.S. sources. In June, Klobuchar introduced the Helping State and Local Governments Prevent Cyber Attacks Act to help combat foreign interference by providing state and local governments with the information and resources they need to keep our elections secure and improve voter confidence.
In addition, Klobuchar has led Senate Rules Committee Democrats in a call for hearings and briefings on foreign attempts to hack into U.S. election systems and improving cybersecurity. Klobuchar also led a group of 26 senators in calling for a full account of the Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) efforts to address Russian cybersecurity threats. In January 2017, Klobuchar introduced legislation with four other senators to create an independent, nonpartisan commission to comprehensively investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election.