Democrats reintroduce bill to investigate foreign interference in U.S. elections

A new Democrat-backed bill would create an independent commission to investigate foreign interference in US elections including cybersecurity experts. But the bill currently has no Republican backers, severely limiting any chance of success.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (Photo: Colby Hochmuth/FedScoop)

A bill to establish a National Commission on Foreign Interference in the 2016 Election was introduced in the House last week by Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who is seated on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as well as the Ranking Member of the CIA Subcommittee. The bill has 189 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.

No House Republicans have signed on to the commission.

The bill, which was also introduced in Dec. 2016 at the end of the last congress, aims to create a 12-member bipartisan commission investigating a variety of means by which the Russian and other governments influenced the 2016 elections. Joining law enforcement and elections experts, American cybersecurity experts would be appointees on the commission as well.

No federal officers or employees would be eligible to serve.


“We continue to seek Republican cosponsors because this must be about country, not party,” Swalwell said in a statement on Friday. “If we do nothing, we are telling the world our elections are open for influence by the most aggressive meddler. With 17 intelligence agencies agreeing that Russia interfered in our election, we most move quickly to have an independent, bipartisan, de-politicized commission to fully examine the circumstances, inform the public of its findings, and develop a plan to prevent this from ever happening again.”

The bill echoes a letter sent last week from a bipartisan group of former intelligence and defense officials supporting the creation of an independent 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.”

Republicans hold a strong majority of 241 to 194 in the House of Representatives. Any legislation that didn’t at least eventually gain significant Republican support would be doomed to failure.


Patrick Howell O'Neill

Written by Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O’Neill is a cybersecurity reporter for CyberScoop based in San Francisco.

Latest Podcasts