Kilmer, House Democrats Introduce SHIELD Act to Combat Foreign Interference in American Elections

WASHINGTON, DCToday, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and leading House Democrats introduced legislation to combat foreign interference in American elections. The Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy (SHIELD) Act will close loopholes that allow foreign spending in our elections, boost disclosure and transparency requirements with the inclusion of Kilmer’s Honest Ads Act, and create a duty to report illicit offers of campaign assistance from foreign nations or governments.

“Foreign interests shouldn’t be able to influence American elections, period,” said Rep. Kilmer. “With countless intelligence assessments confirming vulnerabilities in the American election system, and another election just over a year away, it’s vital that both sides of the aisle come together to take real action to fix the loopholes and protect our elections from foreign interference. I’m proud to see the Honest Ads Act included in this bill to ensure Americans know who is paying for the online ads they are seeing and to make it harder for foreign actors to use the internet to attack our democracy. Congress should take action to further protect our democracy without delay.”

“Most Americans know that foreign governments have no business interfering in our elections,” said Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). “Instead, the Trump campaign and White House have welcomed and repeatedly solicited foreign assistance for his political activities. This behavior is unacceptable, and it is telling that the White House has gone to great lengths to hide it from the American people. The SHIELD Act will protect our elections from foreign interference by closing loopholes that allow dishonest behavior, increasing disclosure and transparency requirements, and ensuring that individuals engaging in conduct with foreign actors intending to influence the outcome of our elections will be held accountable by law.”

“Foreign adversaries attacked our elections in 2016 and they’re coming for us again in 2020,” said Congressman John Sarbanes, Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force. “House Democrats have moved quickly to protect our democracy from foreign interference. As our first order of business, we passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which would modernize election infrastructure across the country, help block illicit foreign political activity online and crack down on secret foreign money and lobbying in our politics. We also swiftly passed the SAFE Act (H.R. 2722), a bill to help states upgrade and secure their voting systems. Today, we’re introducing The SHIELD Act, a bill to root out foreign influence, disinformation and interference in our elections. Senate Republicans and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must take up these critical national security bills as soon as possible. There’s no time to waste.”

The SHIELD Act of 2019:

  • Creates a duty to report illicit offers of campaign assistance from foreign governments and their agents.
  • Helps prevent foreign interference in future elections by improving transparency of online political advertisements.
  • Closes loopholes that allow foreign nationals and foreign governments to spend in U.S. elections.
  • Restricts exchange of campaign information between candidates and foreign governments and their agents.
  • Prohibits deceptive practices about voting procedures.

Click here for a two-page summary of the SHIELD Act.

Click here for a section-by-section summary of the SHIELD Act.

Click here for the SHIELD Act bill text.

The SHIELD Act is sponsored by Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and cosponsored by Representatives John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.), Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Chair of the New Democrat Coalition, Stephanie N. Murphy (D-Fla.), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Caucus, Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Susan A. Davis (D-Calif.), G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), and Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.).

The Honest Ads Act (H.R. 2592) is co-sponsored by 18 Democrats and 18 Republicans in the House. Companion legislation in the Senate was also introduced by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, 

The Honest Ads Act was included in H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2019, a sweeping package of reform bills co-sponsored by Rep. Kilmer and passed by the House in March 2019. The For the People Act of 2019 aims to strengthen the voice of the American people in their democracy by making it easier to vote, ending the dominance of big money in the political process, and ensuring public officials work for the public interest. 

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