Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly today announced his support for bipartisan legislation aimed at deterring foreign actors from meddling in U.S. elections and punishing those who do so. The Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act, introduced by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), currently has 8 Republican and 9 Democratic cosponsors.
The legislation would impose economic sanctions on foreign governments – or agents acting on their behalf – who attempt to interfere with American elections.
Donnelly said, “American intelligence services are unified in determining that Russia attempted to interfere in and influence our country’s 2016 election. This bipartisan legislation would make it clear that such hostile actions will not be tolerated. While I’m pleased that the president recently signed a similar executive order, the DETER Act would make it plain and clear that attempted meddling by Russia – or any other country – will be met by swift, crippling, and mandatory sanctions.”
For more than a year, the entire United States intelligence community has agreed that Russia, under the direction of President Putin, attempted to influence the 2016 election. In early 2017, Donnelly helped shape bipartisan legislation, signed into law in August 2017 that, in part, sanctioned Russia for its behavior in 2016.
The DETER Act would require a review by the Director of National Intelligence, within 30 days after a federal election, on whether a foreign government – or an agent acting on its behalf – had interfered. If the Director of National Intelligence determines that such meddling did take place by Russia specifically, the DETER Act would require the president to impose sanctions on a number of Russian entities including financial institutions, energy companies, defense and intelligence assets, and senior political figures. If it is determined that a different country has attempted to interfere in a U.S. election, the president would be required to present a plan to Congress on how to respond and prevent the action from repeating.