Rep. Adriano Espaillat Joins Members of the U.S. House to Call for an Independent Commission to Investigate Foreign Interference in U.S. Elections

January 6, 2017
Press Release
Congresista Adriano Espaillat se une a los Miembros de la Cámara de Representantes de los EE.UU. para pedir una Comisión Independiente para Investigar Interferencia Extranjera en Elecciones Estadounidenses

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), the Ranking Member of the CIA Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-07), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, are reintroducing their Protecting Our Democracy Act to establish an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in the 2016 election.

They originally introduced their legislation on December 7, 2016, at the end of the 114th Congress. Since then, they have obtained the support of more than 170 Members of the House of Representatives, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, and all members of House Democratic leadership; the Ranking Members of all House Committees; and all Democratic members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Their 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.

“There’s overwhelming agreement across America that our democracy was attacked this past presidential election. Now everyone’s asking what our nation’s leaders will do about it. Our legislation answers that question by identifying who was responsible and telling Americans what we will do to secure our next election,” said Ranking Member Swalwell. “We continue to seek Republican cosponsors because this must be about country, not party. 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 most senior leaders of our Intelligence Community testified yesterday that Russia interfered in our elections, which Republicans and Democrats alike have compared to an act of war,” said Ranking Member Cummings. “This grave threat calls for a truly bipartisan and independent commission that can put politics aside and conduct a complete review of this interference in our democratic process, and make concrete recommendations to protect our nation from being undermined by any foreign power. We cannot allow this to become the new normal for what we will accept as Americans.”

The 12 members of the independent commission would be appointed within 90 days of enactment of the Swalwell-Cummings bill 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 bill’s original cosponsors include:

1.      Eric Swalwell

2.      Elijah Cummings

3.      Sheila Jackson Lee

4.      Alma Adams

5.      Pete Aguilar

6.      Nanette Barragan

7.      Karen Bass

8.      Joyce Beatty

9.      Sanford Bishop

10.  Earl Blumenauer

11.  Lisa Blunt-Rochester

12.  Suzanne Bonamici

13.  Madeleine Bordallo

14.  Brendan Boyle

15.  Robert Brady

16.  Anthony Brown

17.  Julia Brownley

18.  Cheri Bustos

19.  G.K. Butterfield

20.  Michael Capuano

21.  Salud Carbajal

22.  Tony Cardenas

23.  Matt Cartwright

24.  Andre Carson

25.  Kathy Castor

26.  Joaquin Castro

27.  Judy Chu

28.  David Cicilline

29.  Katherine Clark

30.  Yvette Clarke

31.  William Lacy Clay

32.  Emanuel Cleaver

33.  James Clyburn

34.  Steve Cohen

35.  Gerald E Connolly

36.  John Conyers, Jr.

37.  Jim Cooper

38.  J. Luis Correa

39.  Jim Costa

40.  Joe Courtney

41.  Joseph Crowley

42.  Henry Cuellar

43.  Danny K. Davis

44.  Susan Davis

45.  Peter DeFazio

46.  Diana DeGette

47.  John Delaney

48.  Rosa DeLauro

49.  Mark DeSaulnier

50.  Theodore Deutch

51.  Debbie Dingell

52.  Lloyd Doggett

53.  Michael Doyle

54.  Keith Ellison

55.  Eliot Engel

56.  Anna Eshoo

57.  Adriano Espaillat

58.  Elizabeth Esty

59.  Dwight Evans

60.  Bill Foster

61.  Lois Frankel

62.  Marcia Fudge

63.  Ruben Gallego

64.  John Garamendi

65.  Vicente Gonzalez

66.  Al Green

67.  Gene Green

68.  Raul Grijalva

69.  Luis Gutiérrez

70.  Alcee Hastings

71.  Denny Heck

72.  Jim Himes

73.  Steny Hoyer

74.  Jared Huffman

75.  Pramila Jayapal

76.  Hakeem Jeffries

77.  Eddie Bernice Johnson

78.  Hank Johnson

79.  Marcy Kaptur

80.  William Keating

81.  Robin Kelly

82.  Joseph P. Kennedy III

83.  Ro Khanna

84.  Ruben Kihuen

85.  Daniel Kildee

86.  Derek Kilmer

87.  Ron Kind

88.  Raja Krishnamoorthi

89.  Ann McLane Kuster

90.  James Langevin

91.  Rick Larsen

92.  John Larson

93.  Brenda Lawrence

94.  Barbara Lee

95.  Sander Levin

96.  John Lewis

97.  Ted Lieu

98.  David Loebsack

99.  Zoe Lofgren

100.                      Alan Lowenthal

101.                      Nita Lowey

102.                      Ben Ray Lujan

103.                      Michelle Lujan Grisham

104.                      Stephen Lynch

105.                      Carolyn Maloney

106.                      Doris Matsui

107.                      Betty McCollum

108.                      A. Donald McEachin

109.                      James P. McGovern

110.                      Jerry McNerney

111.                      Gregory Meeks

112.                      Grace Meng

113.                      Seth Moulton

114.                      Gwen Moore

115.                      Stephanie Murphy

116.                      Jerrold Nadler

117.                      Grace Napolitano

118.                      Richard Neal

119.                      Donald Norcross

120.                      Eleanor Holmes Norton

121.                      Beto O’Rourke

122.                      Frank Pallone

123.                      Jimmy Panetta

124.                      Bill Pascrell

125.                      Nancy Pelosi

126.                      Ed Perlmutter

127.                      Scott Peters

128.                      Collin Peterson

129.                      Stacey Plaskett

130.                      Mark Pocan

131.                      Jared Polis

132.                      David Price

133.                      Mike Quigley

134.                      Jamie Raskin

135.                      Kathleen Rice

136.                      Cedric Richmond

137.                      Jacky Rosen

138.                      Lucille Roybal-Allard

139.                      Raul Ruiz

140.                      C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

141.                      Bobby Rush

142.                      Tim Ryan

143.                      Gregorio Sablan

144.                      Linda Sanchez

145.                      John Sarbanes

146.                      Janice Schakowsky

147.                      Adam Schiff

148.                      Bradley Schneider

149.                      Bobby Scott

150.                      Jose Serrano

151.                      Terri Sewell

152.                      Carol Shea-Porter

153.                      Brad Sherman

154.                      Kyrsten Sinema

155.                      Albio Sires

156.                      Louise Slaughter

157.                      Adam Smith

158.                      Darren Soto

159.                      Jackie Speier

160.                      Thomas Suozzi

161.                      Mark Takano

162.                      Bennie Thompson

163.                      Mike Thompson

164.                      Dina Titus

165.                      Paul Tonko

166.                      Norma Torres

167.                      Niki Tsongas

168.                      Juan Vargas

169.                      Marc Veasey

170.                      Filemon Vela

171.                      Nydia Velazquez

172.                      Debbie Wasserman Schultz

173.                      Maxine Waters

174.                      Bonnie Watson Coleman

175.                      Peter Welch

176.                      John Yarmuth