CIA Director Pompeo said that he has seen no signs that Russia has decreased its activity and that Russia is currently working to disrupt the upcoming 2018 elections

In a letter, Klobuchar wrote that it is vital that we send a strong message to the Kremlin by implementing sanctions

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) strongly urged the Administration to reconsider the decision to waive sanctions authorized in response to Russia’s interference with the 2016 election. The Senate passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act by a vote of 98-2 and the House passed the bill 419-3. This legislation directs the President to impose new sanctions against those connected with the Russian Federation for its extensive and ongoing efforts to undermine U.S. election security. Yesterday, however, the Administration announced it will not impose these sanctions.

“Officials from within the Administration have confirmed that Russia is continuing its efforts to destabilize democracies across the world, including our own. This week, CIA Director Pompeo said that he has seen no signs that Russia has decreased its activity and that Russia is currently working to disrupt the upcoming 2018 elections,” Senator Klobuchar wrote. “It is vital that we send a strong message to the Kremlin by implementing sanctions against those who engage in business with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors, the very parts of the Russian government responsible for orchestrating the attacks on our election systems. Election security is national security. As the Department of Homeland Security, Congress, and state election officials work to improve election infrastructure, the Administration must do its part and signal to Russia that interference with our democracy will be met with significant consequences. Failure to do so will further embolden Russia and other adversaries who seek to do harm to our political system.”

Senator Klobuchar continued, “The next federal election is less than 280 days away and our democracy remains a target for Russian interference. We must act now.”

Full text of the letter can be found attached.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight jurisdiction over federal elections, Klobuchar has introduced legislation to improve the security of U.S. election systems and protect our country’s elections from future foreign influence. In December, Klobuchar introduced the Secure Elections Act with James Lankford (R-OK), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 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 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.