115 Republican and Democratic former elected officials: It is time to prevent foreign interference and pass the Honest Ads Act.

Today, 29 members of Congress in both chambers united to support the re-introduced Honest Ads Act. Issue One recruited 115 former members of Congress, governors, and Cabinet officials to sign on to the following letter, which was then sent to Capitol Hill calling on Congress to pass the Honest Ads Act and defend our elections from foreign interference. 

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent report concluded that, “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a sweeping and systematic fashion.” That is unacceptable, and it must be addressed immediately so that it never happens again.

We, the undersigned, as members of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus — a coalition of former members of Congress, governors, and Cabinet officials representing all fifty states and both political parties — are writing to urge you to hold hearings on and pass the bipartisan Honest Ads Act as a first step toward strengthening our election security and ensuring that interference is much less likely in the future. In addition, Congress should consider legislation — some of which has already been introduced — that addresses other areas of concern raised by the Mueller Report, specifically dark money, foreign expenditures, and the definition of campaign coordination. Our commitment to defending the national security of the United States crosses partisan and ideological divides. Many of us served in a branch of the armed forces, oversaw national security while serving in Congress, or directed an agency charged with preventing domestic and foreign attacks against the United States.

Over the last two years, the Intelligence Community and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have agreed that foreign actors interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections — and that hostile enemies and opponents of democracy around the world will likely try again. These bad actors will continue to infect some of the largest internet platforms in order to divide and weaken the country. As former elected officials, we believe now is the time for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to address the growing cybersecurity challenges presented by Russia, China, Iran, and non-state actors.

In 2016, advertisements by foreign entities on social media platforms — some of which were paid for in rubles — anonymously targeted American voters, igniting conflict and manipulating our political system. The Honest Ads Act would implement a commonsense system for paid, online political advertising, closely modeled on longstanding rules for paid political advertising on television and radio. The legislation is supported by some of the world’s largest internet platforms, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and IBM. “What we’re doing is we’re going to verify the identity of any advertiser who’s running a political or issue-related ad — this is basically what the Honest Ads Act is proposing….We support the Honest Ads Act” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

More than a dozen of your fellow Republican and Democratic lawmakers sponsored such measures last Congress, and Special Counsel Mueller’s findings confirm that foreign-led disinformation campaigns are a national security crisis. It is your constitutional duty to address this crisis. We hope that you take this important moment to reach across party lines to pass the Honest Ads Act and other critical foreign interference and cybersecurity measures that will protect and secure our elections.

Respectfully,

Fmr. Ambassador Tim Roemer (D-IN) ReFormers Caucus Co-chair

Fmr. Congressman Zach Wamp (R-TN) ReFormers Caucus Co-chair

 

Signed

  1. Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA)

  2. Congressman Les AuCoin (D-OR)

  3. Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA)

  4. Congressman Mike Barnes (D-MD)

  5. Congressman Gresham Barrett (R-SC)

  6. Congressman Charlie Bass (R-NH)

  7. Congressman Berkley Bedell (D-IA)

  8. Congressman Douglas Bereuter (R-NE)

  9. Governor James Blanchard (D-MI)

  10. Congressman Don Bonker (D-WA)

  11. Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ)

  12. Secretary Bill Brock (R-TN)

  13. Congressman Jack Buechner (R-MO)

  14. Governor John Carlin (D-KS)

  15. Governor Arne Carlson (R-MN)

  16. Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO)

  17. Congressman Bob Carr (D-MI)

  18. Governor Mike Castle (R-DE)

  19. Congressman John Cavanaugh (D-NE)

  20. Congressman Ben Chandler (D-KY)

  21. Congressman Rod Chandler (R-WA)

  22. Congressman Bill Clinger (R-PA)

  23. Congressman Sam Coppersmith (D-AZ)

  24. Senator Jack Danforth (R-MO)

  25. Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD)

  26. Congressman Jim Davis (D-FL)

  27. Congressman Lincoln Davis (D-TN)

  28. Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT)

  29. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND)

  30. Senator Dave Durenberger (R-MN)

  31. Congressman Dave Emery (R-ME)

  32. Congressman Vic Fazio (D-CA)

  33. Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN)

  34. Ambassador Wyche Fowler (D-GA)

  35. Congressman Martin Frost (D-TX)

  36. Congressman Dick Gephardt (D-MO)

  37. Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-PA)

  38. Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD)

  39. Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA)

  40. Secretary Dan Glickman (D-KS)

  41. Congressman Gene Green (D-TX)

  42. Congressman Jim Greenwood (R-PA)

  43. Secretary Chuck Hagel (R-NE)

  44. Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY)

  45. Senator Gary Hart (D-CO)

  46. Congressman Joe Heck (R-NV)

  47. Congressman Dennis Hertel (D-MI)

  48. Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH)

  49. Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ)

  50. Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY)

  51. Congressman Amo Houghton (R-NY)

  52. Congressman Jerry Huckaby (D-LA)

  53. Ambassador Bill Hughes (D-NJ)

  54. Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL)

  55. Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC)

  56. Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY)

  57. Senator Bennett Johnston (D-LA)

  58. Governor Tom Kean (R-NJ)

  59. Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly (D-CT)

  60. Governor Bob Kerrey (D-NE)

  61. Congressman Ron Klein (D-FL)

  62. Congressman Mike Kopetski (D-OR)

  63. Congressman Steve Kuykendall (R-CA)

  64. Secretary Ray LaHood (R-IL)

  65. Congressman Martin Lancaster (D-NC)

  66. Congressman Larry LaRocco (D-ID)

  67. Congressman Rick Lazio (R-NY)

  68. Congressman Jim Leach (R-IA)

  69. Congressman John LeBoutillier (R-NY)

  70. Congressman Sandy Levin (D-MI)

  71. Congressman Mel Levine (D-CA)

  72. Congressman Bob Livingston (R-LA)

  73. Congressman Andy Maguire (D-NJ)

  74. Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies (D-PA)

  75. Congressman Pete McCloskey (R-CA)

  76. Congressman Matthew McHugh (D-NY)

  77. Governor John McKernan (R-ME)

  78. Congressman George Miller (D-CA)

  79. Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA)

  80. Ambassador Connie Morella (R-MD)

  81. Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA)

  82. Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R-NC)

  83. Congressman George Nethercutt (R-WA)

  84. Congressman Glenn Nye (D-VA)

  85. Congressman Tom Osborne (R-NE)

  86. Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI)

  87. Senator Larry Pressler (R-SD)

  88. Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH)

  89. Secretary Tom Ridge (R-PA)
  90. Governor Bill Ritter (D-CO)

  91. Governor Roy Romer (D-CO)

  92. Secretary Ed Schafer (R-ND)

  93. Congresswoman Claudine Schneider (R-RI)

  94. Congresswoman Pat Schroeder (D-CO)

  95. Congressman Joe Schwarz (R-MI)

  96. Congressman Philip Sharp (D-IN)

  97. Congressman Chris Shays (R-CT)

  98. Congresswoman Karen Shepherd (D-UT)

  99. Senator Al Simpson (R-WY)

  100. Congressman David Skaggs (D-CO)

  101. Congressman Jim Slattery (D-KS)

  102. Congressman Peter Smith (R-VT)

  103. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

  104. Congressman Charles Stenholm (D-TX)

  105. Ambassador Richard Swett (D-NH)

  106. Congressman Robin Tallon (D-SC)

  107. Congressman John Tanner (D-TN)

  108. Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE)

  109. Congresswoman Karen Thurman (D-FL)

  110. Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS)

  111. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

  112. Senator Tim Wirth (D-CO)

  113. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)