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March 21, 2018

Thompson Demands Election Security Hearings After Homeland Security Chairman Backtracks

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement after receiving written notice from Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) that he will not convene a hearing dedicated to election security as he indicated publicly on March 7th.  While promising to work with Democrats on this issue as soon as possible, Chairman McCaul said: “I look forward to working with you to conducting a full hearing on this issue as it not only impacted—was a real event in the last presidential election–but I believe it will be a real event in the midterm 2018 elections.” Today, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that our elections are "clearly potential targets for Russian hacking attempts."

“I am extremely disappointed that Chairman McCaul has already backtracked on his public promise to hold a much-needed hearing on election security and the ongoing Russia cyber threat.  This also comes after repeated overtures last year to work together on this issue. Alas, we have made no progress.  To be clear, we first began hearing of Russia’s interference in our elections almost two years ago.”

“Chairman McCaul often reiterates his opposition to Russia, but actions speak louder than words.  Like Speaker Ryan and his fellow House Chairmen, he is ensuring the House stays true in its partisanship and seems too willing to do President Trump’s bidding.  Homeland security used to be a bipartisan issue, but it seems this is no longer possible when one party refuses to put the country – and its security – first.”

“Holding a focused and comprehensive hearing on election security is not a partisan or complicated request. It speaks volumes that while Chairman McCaul has been dragging his feet on this issue for over a year, the Senate is holding election security hearings today with current and former homeland security officials.  This is all we are asking for.  I call on Chairman McCaul to realize his error and follow through on his promise.”

“If Chairman McCaul believes Russia will interfere in the 2018 elections, as he has stated, we cannot ignore this threat.  Having hearings on election security – while developing solutions and showing the public that we are working together on this issue is a solid first step. The 2018 elections are only seven months away and we must be doing much more to protect them.  If we do nothing, we are just inviting Putin to what he pleases with our democracy and our domestic affairs.”

Link to Letter

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978