This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.
Ask your members of Congress (MoCs) to support or revive bills identified by Lawfareblog as measures that could protect America’s next big election from outside interference.
In his June 20, 2017 Lawfareblog piece How Congress Should Fight Election Interference, Dr. Ben Freeman identifies three bills–one live, two which died in previous sessions of Congress–that could help safeguard the country against meddling of the sort perpetrated by Russia during the 2016 election.
The first is S. 625, the Foreign Agents Modernization and Enforcement Act, which would force propaganda outlets such as Russia Television (better known as RT) to register as a foreign agent. The bill would also permit us to better scrutinize these entities by asking them where they get their money and who their friends are.
Here’s a sample script for calling your senators about S. 625:
If you’re represented by New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen or Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young, thank them for co-sponsoring the bill and tell them you wish it well.
If not, say something like this: “Dear Senator (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname of town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to support S.625, the Foreign Agents Modernization and Enforcement Act. It’s a bipartisan bill, introduced by your colleagues Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Todd Young of Indiana, and it would close a loophole that allows propaganda outlets such as Russia Television to register as nonprofits instead of the foreign agents that they are. The bill would also allow us to ask RT where it gets its money and what foreign connections it has. Thank you for considering my request.”
The other two bills Freeman cites are dead bills that should be revived. The Close the Foreign Lobbying Loophole Act would have addressed and clarified many issues that ensnared Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort. It would also have outlawed the act of lobbying for a foreign power overseas without publicly disclosing that fact back here. Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Claire McCaskill of Missouri introduced the bill, S.3123, in 2008 during the 110th Congress. If either of them represent you, please ask them to revive and resubmit it.
The other is the Ethics in Foreign Lobbying Act of 2016, aka H.R. 6057, which would have levied a fine of $2,000 for each violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). It was introduced by Ohio House Rep Marcy Kaptur in the 114th Congress. If she is your house rep, please call or email her and ask her to revive the bill.
Read Freeman’s Lawfareblog post:
Read Republican Senator Todd Young’s press release about S. 625, the Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act:
Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!
See the GovTrack page on S. 625:
See the GovTrack page on S. 3123, the Close the Foreign Lobbying Loophole Act:
See a 2008 press release on S. 3123:
See the GovTrack page on H.R. 6057, the Ethics in Foreign Lobbying Act of 2016:
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