Committee on House Administration Passes SHIELD Act to Combat Foreign Interference in American Elections

Oct 16, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Committee on House Administration favorably reported legislation aimed to combat foreign interference in American elections. H.R. 4617, the Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy (SHIELD) Act will close loopholes that allow foreign spending in our elections, boost disclosure and transparency requirements, and create a duty to report illicit offers of campaign assistance from foreign nations or governments. The legislation, introduced by Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and cosponsored by 74 House Democrats, passed by a 6-1 vote.

“The SHIELD Act closes gaps in the law that allow foreign nationals and foreign governments to launder money into our elections,” said Lofgren at today’s markup. “It 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. We should all be able to agree that we need to protect our democracy, and with a sense of urgency. This is not a partisan opinion. Nothing less than our national security is at stake.”

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.

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.

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, and the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.

 
Congress Number: 
116th Congress