Dem Introduces Bill Reinforcing Law Barring Campaigns Accepting 'Foreign Dirt'
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff introduces legislation
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has introduced legislation designed to clarify the federal law that bars political campaigns receiving foreign intel in an election.
The bill will amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to clarify that “information sought or obtained for political advantage” qualifying as valuable that a campaign is forbidden from soliciting, accepting or receiving from a foreign national
In the legislation, it also mandates that an individual who knowingly and willfully violates the statute faces a fine or prison up o five years.
It also requires the Federal Election Commission to notify political committees of the prohibition quickly after their formation.
According to The Hill: Schiff introduced the legislation on Thursday, one week after President Donald Trump triggered widespread criticism for suggesting to ABC News that he would accept foreign dirt on his 2020 opponents and wouldn’t notify the FBI.
Trump later walked back the remarks, saying he would notify the FBI if the information was “bad” but that he would still look at it.
Schiff said Thursday that the legislation would “make it crystal clear that seeking or obtaining foreign assistance in the form of dirt on an opponent from a foreign power or foreign national is illegal.”
“Seeking foreign assistance in a political campaign is unethical, unpatriotic, and wrong - this bill will reinforce that it's also illegal,” Schiff said.
Schiff’s bill would require the Federal Election Commission to provide a political committee with a written explanation of the statute within 30 days of the committee filing its statement of an organization.
Any political committee would be required thereafter to certify to the commission that it received the explanation and provided copies of it to its members, also within 30 days.
Schiff said his legislation is designed to complement legislation introduced by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and others that would require campaigns to report foreign interference.
Warner introduced the proposal as an amendment to the annual defense policy legislation earlier this week.
Schiff said his legislation was drafted in response to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
In his more than 400-page report, Mueller wrote that he considered charging Donald Trump Jr. and others in connection with the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer that they arranged after being offered damaging information on Trump’s Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The participants say the meeting never bore fruit.
Mueller wrote that he decided against charging the participants with campaign-finance violations because of the high bar of proving they “knowingly and willfully” intended to break the law, and because of the difficulty of proving information offered constituted a “thing of value.”