Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) joined more than 170 members of the House of Representatives to introduce the Protecting Our Democracy Act to establish an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in the 2016 election.
"It is clear Russia intervened in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This action by a foreign nation was unprecedented, violated our Constitution and undermined the founding pillars of American liberty and democracy. We cannot allow a foreign nation to ever influence our elections because it harms our liberty, freedom and independence. This is bigger than just one election, and for the sake of our democracy, we must remain vigilant."
The bill would create a 12-member, bipartisan, independent commission empowered to interview witnesses, obtain documents, issue subpoenas, and receive public testimony to examine attempts by the Russian government or others to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or undermine trust in last year’s U.S. elections. The commission would examine any similar efforts by any other foreign governments or entities and would issue a final report with recommendations to Congress and the President within 18 months of enactment.
The 12 members of the independent commission would be appointed within 90 days of enactment of legislation by the Speaker of the House (3), Senate Majority Leader (3), House Minority Leader (3), and Senate Minority Leader (3). The commission would choose a chair and vice chair of different parties. No federal officers or employees would be eligible to serve on the commission. Appointees would be prominent U.S. citizens with national recognition and significant depth of experience in governmental service, law enforcement, armed services, law, public administration, intelligence gathering, foreign affairs, cybersecurity, and federal elections.
This week, a bipartisan group of former senior intelligence and defense officials – including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former Acting Director of Central Intelligence Michael Morrell, and former Member of Congress and 9/11 Commission Vice Chair Lee Hamilton – sent a letter urging Congress to create an “independent, bipartisan commission” to “understand fully and publicly what happened, how we were so vulnerable, and what we can do to protect our democracy in future elections.”
The legislation was originally introduced by House Intelligence Subcommittee on the Central Intelligence Agency Ranking Member Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on December 7, 2016, at the end of the 114th Congress.
Click here to read the declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.