Republican and Democratic former Defense Secretaries Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta, former Acting Homeland Security Secretary Admiral James Loy, and 90 other former members of Congress, governors and Cabinet secretaries from both parties, called on the U.S. Senate to support a suite of bipartisan bills that would defend America’s elections against foreign interference.
They are members of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus, a bipartisan coalition assembled to advocate for solutions to issues that America faces, says a press release.
The letter states, “We are alarmed at the lack of meaningful Congressional action to secure our elections. Unity in times of national crisis has long been a hallmark of American government. The current crisis is no exception.” It was signed by 93 leaders — including 35 Republicans and 56 Democrats — and delivered to all 100 Senate offices today.
“We have a national security emergency. It’s time for the Senate to put aside politics and pass these bipartisan bills to secure our elections,” said Issue One CEO Nick Penniman. “Every week we hear about new attempts by foreign actors to interfere in our political system. But Senate leadership is still not addressing the crisis facing our democracy.”
These national security leaders emphasized that local and state governments need additional financial support to address election vulnerabilities, coupled with minimum standards and requirements to ensure election integrity and verifiability. They also expressed their support for the following bipartisan bills:
- The Secure Elections Act, which bolsters our voting systems while reaffirming each state’s role in administering federal elections.
- The Honest Ads Act, which helps protect against hidden foreign propaganda efforts online.
- The Foreign Agents Disclosure and Registration Enhancement Act, which modernizes and enforces existing lobbying laws and imposes penalties for rulebreakers.
- The Shell Company Abuse Act, which ensures that foreign actors cannot hide behind tax laws to subvert elections.
- The Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act, which imposes sanctions on countries that interfere in American elections.
Read the full letter here.