New Criminal Charges Against Russian National Shows American Voters Must Do What Trump Administration & Congress Failed to Do

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Statement from Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

Today’s criminal charges against Elena Khusyaynova for planning a multi-million dollar Russian influence campaign in the 2018 election clearly shows that the American people must use their power – their votes – in the 2018 Midterm election to send a message to the world. That message is simple – the strength of our democracy is not dependent on the politicians who hold office for a moment; the strength of our democracy is that each eligible American has a voice and a vote in our future.

The American people must also realize and begin to act on the fact that voting is only the first-step of self-governance. We must all be vigilant 365-days a year to hold politicians accountable.

If Congress is serious about shoring up the 2018 election they should come back in session now to deal with this threat by imposing the stiffest possible sanctions and making more resources available to the states so that every precinct has the ability to have backup paper ballots, and each state has the resources to conduct risk-limiting audits on machines to detect any irregularity.

President Trump stood with Vladimir Putin against the American intelligence community in Helsinki proclaiming he believed the Russian leader when he denied influencing the 2016 campaign. Putin acknowledged that he did it as part of an effort to destabilize our democracy. Trump’s administration coddled Russia with limited sanctions for the 2016 attacks on our elections has done nothing to prevent ongoing attacks, making us more vulnerable now. Trump and Republican Congressional leaders have failed to put country before party. Americans expect and deserve a government that will protect our democracy. Today’s unsealed criminal complaint clearly indicates real sanctions with teeth sufficient to end these attacks and safeguard our democracy are needed.

Voters should know that there are solutions that have been proposed and ask candidates for Congress if they support laws to bolster our democracy’s resilience, including the Secure Elections Act and the Honest Ads Act. These bills have bipartisan support. More than 300 candidates for Congress are on the record at Our Democracy 2018 ( on these and other questions about strengthening our democracy and voters can engage with candidates to get them on the record.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the 38-page complaint today is the clear indication that the 2018 influence campaign seeks to undermine the credibility of Robert Mueller in anticipation of his report about President Trump’s 2016 campaign and its ties to Russia. Americans want the Mueller investigation to continue and we deserve a full public accounting of that report so that any wrong-doing can be punished and any vulnerabilities in our system can be shored up.

Similar attacks on the 2016 election prompted Common Cause to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and ultimately to indictments of Russian nationals by the DOJ. But the fact that these attacks have continued unabated.

To read the Common Cause 2017 complaints, click here.

Correction Note: In the original release I cited the complaint as a 73-page document; it was actually 38 pages. The Mueller complaint against Russians in February was 73 pages. My apology for the error. SBS.