New Russia Investigation Indictments Hammer Home Need to Support Special Counsel’s Investigation

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Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

Americans expect and deserve to know the truth about the Russian attacks on our democracy. Today’s indictments provide more of that truth and hammer home the seriousness of the attacks, the need to support and protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and overdue measures we must take to modernize our campaign finance laws and strengthen the resilience of our election infrastructure.

Common Cause filed complaints last September with the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission, urging the agencies to investigate illegal campaign spending by foreign nationals on social media, including by Russia-based social media troll operations.

The Justice Department heard our call. Among other things, the indictment details how Russian nationals concealed their identities to “produce, purchase, and post advertisements on U.S. social media and other online sites expressly advocating for the election of then-candidate Trump or expressly opposing Clinton. Defendants and their co-conspirators did not report their expenditures to the Federal Election Commission, or register as foreign agents with the U.S. Department of Justice.”

We are hopeful that these new facts will finally drive the White House and Republicans in Congress who have worked to hamper the investigation to admit the reality and the scope of the attack and the threat from Russia which is ongoing today as we approach our next election.

It is time for Congress and the White House to put their country before their party. The attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigators are disgraceful and must cease. He must be given the full support of the White House and Congress to complete his investigation without interference. Congress must also pass much-needed reforms to modernize our campaign finance laws to address the new reality of how ads are purchased and disseminated online, as Mueller’s indictment today makes clear. The bipartisan Honest Ads Act must be given a full hearing and immediate action.

As the indictment makes clear, Russian defendants are conspiring to interfere up to the present in our political and electoral processes. With the 2018 midterm elections only eight months away, Congress must be doing everything it can to provide states and localities the resources they need to improve the resilience of our election infrastructure.