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S. 1562: Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act

The text of the bill below is as of May 21, 2019 (Introduced).


II

116th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1562

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 21, 2019

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration

A BILL

To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to clarify the obligation to report acts of foreign election influence and require implementation of compliance and reporting systems by Federal campaigns to detect and report such acts.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act.

2.

Federal campaign reporting of foreign contacts

(a)

Initial notice

Section 304 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (52 U.S.C. 30104) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(j)

Disclosure of reportable foreign contacts

(1)

Committee obligation

Not later than 1 week after a reportable foreign contact, each authorized committee shall notify the Commission of the reportable foreign contact and provide a summary of the circumstances with respect to such reportable foreign contact.

(2)

Individual obligation

Not later than 1 week after a reportable foreign contact—

(A)

each candidate shall notify the treasurer or other designated official of the principal campaign committee of such candidate of the reportable foreign contact and provide a summary of the circumstances with respect to such reportable foreign contact; and

(B)

each official, employee, or agent of an authorized committee shall notify the treasurer or other designated official of the authorized committee of the reportable foreign contact and provide a summary of the circumstances with respect to such reportable foreign contact.

(3)

Reportable foreign contact

In this subsection:

(A)

In general

The term reportable foreign contact means any direct or indirect contact or communication that—

(i)

is between—

(I)

a candidate, an authorized committee of a candidate, or any official, employee, or agent of such authorized committee; and

(II)

a foreign national (as defined in section 319(b)) or a person that the person described in subclause (I) believes to be a foreign national; and

(ii)

the person described in clause (i)(I) knows, has reason to know, or reasonably believes involves—

(I)

a contribution, donation, expenditure, disbursement, or solicitation described in section 319; or

(II)

coordination or collaboration with, an offer or provision of information or services to or from, or persistent and repeated contact with a government of a foreign country or an agent thereof.

(B)

Exception

Such term shall not include any contact or communication with a foreign government or an agent of a foreign principal by an elected official or an employee of an elected official solely in an official capacity as such an official or employee.

.

(b)

Information included on quarterly report

Section 304(b) of such Act (52 U.S.C. 30104(b)) is amended by striking and at the end of paragraph (7), by striking the period at the end of paragraph (8) and inserting ; and, and by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(9)

for any reportable foreign contact (as defined in subsection (j)(3))—

(A)

the date, time, and location of the contact;

(B)

the date and time of when a designated official of the committee was notified of the contact;

(C)

the identity of individuals involved; and

(D)

a description of the contact, including the nature of any contribution, donation, expenditure, disbursement, or solicitation involved and the nature of any activity described in subsection (j)(3)(A)(ii)(II) involved.

.

(c)

Notification to the FBI

Not later than 1 week after receiving a notification or report under section 304(j), the Federal Election Commission shall notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation of any reportable foreign contact (as defined in section 304(j) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (52 U.S.C. 30104), as added by this section).

3.

Federal campaign foreign contact reporting compliance system

Section 302(e) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (52 U.S.C. 30102(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(6)

Reportable foreign contacts compliance policy

(A)

Reporting

Each authorized committee shall establish a policy that requires all officials, employees, and agents of such committee to notify the treasurer or other appropriate designated official of the committee of any reportable foreign contact (as defined in section 304(j)) not later than 1 week after such contact was made.

(B)

Retention and preservation of records

Each authorized committee shall establish a policy that provides for the retention and preservation of records and information related to reportable foreign contacts (as so defined) for a period of not less than 3 years.

(C)

Certification

Upon designation of a political committee as an authorized committee by a candidate, and with each report filed by such committee under section 304(a), the candidate shall certify that—

(i)

the committee has in place policies that meets the requirements of subparagraph (A) and (B);

(ii)

the committee has designated an official to monitor compliance with such policies; and

(iii)

not later than 1 week after the beginning of any formal or informal affiliation with the committee, all officials, employees, and agents of such committee will—

(I)

receive notice of such policies;

(II)

be informed of the prohibitions under section 319; and

(III)

sign a certification affirming their understanding of such policies and prohibitions.

.

4.

Criminal penalties

Section 309(d)(1) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (52 U.S.C. 30109(d)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:

(E)

Any person who knowingly and willfully commits a violation of subsection (j) or (b)(9) of section 304 or section 302(e)(6) shall be fined not more than $500,000, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

(F)

Any person who knowingly or willfully conceals or destroys any materials relating to a reportable foreign contact (as defined in section 304(j)) shall be fined not more than $1,000,000, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

.

5.

Rule of construction

Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be construed—

(1)

to impede legitimate journalistic activities; or

(2)

to impose any additional limitation on the right of any individual who is not a citizen of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined by section 101(a)(20) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20)) to express political views or to participate in public discourse.