House Passes SHIELD Act to Combat Foreign Interference in American Elections

Oct 23, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation authored by Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) to combat foreign interference in American elections. H.R. 4617, the Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy (SHIELD) Act, closes loopholes that allow foreign spending in our elections, boosts disclosure and transparency requirements, and creates a duty to report illicit offers of campaign assistance from foreign nations or governments. The legislation passed the House by a 227-181 vote.

 “Free and fair elections are at the heart of what it means to be a citizen of the United States. It our solemn duty to defend them,” said Lofgren on the House floor today. “The SHIELD Act promotes full transparency of the sources behind online campaign advertising. It codifies a basic norm that political committees should report offers of illicit campaign assistance from foreign governments to federal authorities, rather than welcome interference from foreign governments.”

Investigations and whistleblower accounts have detailed extensive communications between the Trump White House, the Trump campaign and foreign governments. Investigators found that President Trump and at least 17 of his campaign officials and advisors had more than 100 contacts with Russians and Wikileaks. Recently, the President and his Administration have solicited foreign interference in the 2020 American elections from multiple foreign governments. Moreover, two associates of Rudy Giuliani, the President’s personal lawyer, were recently arrested for conspiring to contribute at least $1 million from an unidentified Russian businessman to candidates to buy influence.

The SHIELD Act of 2019:

  • Creates a duty to report illicit offers of campaign assistance from foreign governments and their agents.

  • Helps prevent foreign interference in future elections by improving transparency of online political advertisements.

  • Closes loopholes that allow foreign nationals and foreign governments to spend in U.S. elections.

  • Restricts exchange of campaign information between candidates and foreign governments and their agents.

  • Prohibits deceptive practices about voting procedures.

The SHIELD Act is the third election security bill passed by the House under Lofgren’s leadership.

H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a sweeping package of pro-democracy and anticorruption reforms to put power back in the hands of the American people by ending the dominance of big money in politics, enhances federal support for voting system security.

H.R. 2722, the SAFE Act, also authored by Chairperson Lofgren, provides funding for states to replace outdated and vulnerable voting equipment, mandate paper ballot voting systems, risk-limiting post-election audits and contains strict cybersecurity requirements for election technology vendors and voting systems.

Click here for a two-page summary of the SHIELD Act.

Click here for a section-by-section summary of the SHIELD Act.

Click here for the SHIELD Act bill text.

The SHIELD Act has been endorsed by the following organizations: Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, People For the American Way, Democracy 21, End Citizens United Action Fund, Public Citizen, NAACP, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Franciscan Action Network, Action Group Network, American Oversight, Campaign Legal Center, Center for Digital Democracy, Center for Popular Democracy, Clean Elections Texas, Coalition to Preserve, Protect and Defend, Concerned Citizens for Change, CREW, Defending Democracy, Democracy Initiative, Equal Justice Society, Greenpeace USA, Indivisible, Indivisible KC, Law Works, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, League of Women Voters, Mainers for Accountable Leadership, MoveOn, New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics, Progressive Turnout Project, Sierra Club, Stand Up America, The Loyal Opposition, Voices for Progress, Win Without War.

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Congress Number: 
116th Congress