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Top Democrats Call Attention and Urge Referral of Congressional Candidate Who Requested and Received Stolen Campaign Documents from State-Sponsored Russian Hackers

Jul 19, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and House Administration Committee Ranking Member Robert A. Brady (D-Penn.) in calling attention to the Congressional candidate who requested and received damaging information on his or her political opponent from Russian intelligence officials, and urging Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to refer the matter to the Federal Election Commission to investigate it as a potential campaign finance violation.

“We expect that the Special Counsel is fully investigating all appropriate charges against this individual for requesting stolen, damaging information against the individual’s opponent in the election,” the Members wrote. “Additionally, we ask that when the work of the Special Counsel is concluded, you refer this matter to the Federal Election Commission to determine if the candidate’s request constitutes a solicitation for an in-kind contribution from a foreign national, a violation of campaign finance laws.”

The Members continued: “Prohibitions on election activity by foreign nationals are essential to the very idea of self-government; it is the right of the American people to decide American elections without disruption or interference. We must safeguard this right by fully investigating any attempt to undermine our elections by inviting foreign interference.”

See below for a full copy of the letter.

 

* * *

 

July 19, 2018

 

The Honorable Rod J. Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20530

Dear Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein:

We write regarding the “candidate for the U.S. Congress” referenced in section 43a of the recently issued indictment arising from the Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. We expect that the Special Counsel is fully investigating all appropriate charges against this individual for requesting stolen, damaging information against the individual’s opponent in the election. Additionally, we ask that when the work of the Special Counsel is concluded, you refer this matter to the Federal Election Commission to determine if the candidate’s request constitutes a solicitation for an in-kind contribution from a foreign national, a violation of campaign finance laws.

Per the indictment, Guccifer 2.0 – the persona used by a group of Russian intelligence officials in their efforts to disrupt the 2016 election – “received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress” and in response “sent the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent.” At the time of the request, Guccifer 2.0 was not yet proven to be a Russian asset but had identified itself as a Romanian hacker, claimed responsibility for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and disseminated documents stolen in that hack. It is implausible that the candidate did not know that he or she was requesting stolen materials from a foreign actor seeking to influence our nation’s democratic process. This breach of the public trust – a candidate for public office colluding with a hostile foreign actor to obtain stolen information and gain advantage in an election – demands thorough investigation.

In addition to potential criminal offenses, the candidate’s request appears to violate campaign finance law. 52 U.S.C. § 30121 prohibits the solicitation of a contribution of “money or other thing of value” from a foreign national. Damaging information on a political opponent constitutes a “thing of value.” It is incumbent upon the Department to refer this matter to the FEC for further investigation and application of appropriate civil penalties, and we urge you to do so at the appropriate time.

Prohibitions on election activity by foreign nationals are essential to the very idea of self-government; it is the right of the American people to decide American elections without disruption or interference. We must safeguard this right by fully investigating any attempt to undermine our elections by inviting foreign interference. We appreciate your prompt attention to this crucial matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

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115th Congress