Jun 28 2018
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement on the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy:
“I am grateful to Justice Kennedy for his many decades of service to our country, and wish him all the best in his retirement.
“In just four months, the American people will determine the makeup of the United States Senate. Given the precedent set by Leader McConnell in 2016, it is only appropriate that the Senate wait until the new Congress is seated to consider any nomination to the Supreme Court.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the President’s travel ban:
“The only thing the Supreme Court decided today was that the President’s actions were constitutional. While I disagree with the court, today’s decision does not make the President’s actions or statements related to the travel ban moral or just. We need to fight religious discrimination at every turn. Congress should take action to reverse the Trump travel ban.”
Warner & Kaine on Nomination of Judge Rossie Alston For U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Jun 07 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement on the President’s nomination of Judge Rossie David Alston, Jr. to serve on the Eastern District Court of Virginia. If confirmed by the Senate, Judge Alston would be the only African American judge serving in the Alexandria Division:
“We are pleased that the President has nominated Judge Alston to the vacancy and are confident his experiences on the state bench will serve him well at the federal level. He fills large shoes in replacing Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, who served with great distinction, and we hope Judge Alston can proudly carry on his legacy. We urge the Department of Justice to send background materials to the Judiciary Committee as soon as possible so our colleagues can review his record and promptly advance his nomination.”
In December, Warner and Kaine sent a letter to President Trump, recommending Judge Alston for the vacancy.
Apr 26 2018
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) are now accepting applications for the position of U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia to succeed U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, who has announced he will take senior status on June 1, 2018. An independent panel of lawyers assembled by the Senators will review applications and interview qualified individuals. The Senators will then use those recommendations, as well as input from bar associations and experts, as they consider potential nominees to recommend to President Trump. The White House will then nominate an individual to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the full Senate.
Interested applicants should visit Senator Warner’s website for application instructions. The application period will close May 18, 2018.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) sponsored a set of bipartisan bills to help curb gun violence, including the Fix NICS Act, legislation which would ensure federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This bill penalizes federal agencies who fail to properly report relevant records and incentivizes states to improve their overall reporting. In addition, it directs more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been a proud supporter of the Second Amendment and have always advocated for responsible gun ownership. My commitment to those principles remains, but it is also past time to put an end to these mass shootings,” said Sen. Warner. “While these commonsense reforms are not themselves enough, they will strengthen our background checks system and keep deadly weapons out of the hands of violent individuals and terrorists. No single law will end all gun violence, but we must begin attempting to address this crisis.”
The Fix NICS Act:
- Requires federal agencies and states to produce NICS implementation plans focused on uploading all information to the background check system showing that a person is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms under current law—including measures to verify the accuracy of records.
- Holds federal agencies accountable if they fail to upload relevant records to the background check system through public reporting and prohibiting bonus pay for political appointees.
- Rewards states who comply with their NICS implementation plans through federal grant preferences and incentives, while increasing accountability through public reporting for those who do not comply with their plans.
- Reauthorizes and improves important law enforcement programs to help state governments share relevant criminal record information with NICS.
- Creates a Domestic Abuse and Violence Prevention Initiative to ensure that states have adequate resources and incentives to share all relevant information with NICS showing that a felon or domestic abuser is excluded from purchasing firearms under current law.
Sen. Warner is also a cosponsor of the Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act, bipartisan legislation to help keep guns from terrorist by preventing people who are on the “No Fly List” or the “Selectee List” from purchasing firearms.
Warner & Kaine Praise Nomination of Thomas Cullen for U.S. Attorney for Western District of Virginia
Feb 16 2018
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released a statement on today’s White House nomination of Thomas T. Cullen to serve as United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia:
“Tom Cullen is an experienced federal prosecutor who has practiced in North Carolina and Virginia. He will make an excellent U.S. Attorney, and we are proud to support his nomination to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Western District,” said the Senators.
Cullen was one of two candidates recommended to the White House by Sens. Warner and Kaine in July. Cullen’s nomination was supported by a panel of attorneys from across the Commonwealth selected by Sens. Warner and Kaine to interview all candidates who applied for the position.
Mr. Cullen is currently a Principal/Partner at Woods Rogers PLC in Roanoke, where his practice focuses on white-collar defense and government investigations. He entered the private sector following a career with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District, where he served as Deputy Criminal Chief at the request of former U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy. Mr. Cullen previously served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, North Carolina. He also served as an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force prosecutor during his time in Charlotte. Mr. Cullen began his legal career as a clerk for U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne in the Eastern District, followed by a clerkship with Circuit Judge Roger L. Gregory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Mr. Cullen received his law degree from William and Mary School of Law in 2004 where he was inducted into the Order of the Coif and a B.A. cum laude from Furman University.
The Western District of Virginia has offices in Roanoke, Charlottesville, Abingdon, Lynchburg, Danville, Big Stone Gap and Harrisonburg.
# # #
Feb 12 2018
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement on the Geneal Services Administration (GSA) report on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) consolidation plan:
“This is a deeply disappointing decision that reverses years of consensus that a new FBI headquarters in the Washington region would be the most cost-effective option for taxpayers and what’s best for the agency's mission of protecting and defending the United States. It raises serious questions that GSA would ignore its previous careful consideration and forgo the millions of dollars already spent in the search to relocate the Bureau. I continue to believe that the identified site in Springfield, Virginia would provide the FBI with the best location to build a modern and secure facility that meets the needs of the FBI and its workforce. Congress should look closely into what led to this reversal and carefully reevaluate all of the options available for the construction of this new facility.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), released the following statement after the Senate voted 65-34 to pass S. 139, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, sending the measure to the President for his signature:
“Section 702 is among the most important of our intelligence programs, which is why the Senate voted along bipartisan lines to renew this authority for six years. This bill is not perfect, but it will provide our Intelligence Community with the legal authority to continue to collect vital foreign intelligence necessary to keep Americans and our allies safe, while incorporating provisions that strengthen the privacy and civil liberties of individuals.”
In a speech on the Senate floor Monday evening, Sen. Warner highlighted a declassified example of the key role Section 702 plays in ensuring our security at home and the globe: Hajji Iman was the second-in-command of ISIS based in Syria; the National Security Agency (NSA) used collection permitted and authorized under Section 702 to gather intelligence on the close associates and network supporting Hajji Iman, including their location in Syria. After more than two years of searching, Hajji Iman was killed by U.S. forces on March 24, 2016 – just one of numerous examples in which the information obtained pursuant to Section 702 has proven critical to addressing threats to Americans both domestically and abroad.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced their support for the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, a bicameral, bipartisan bill to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence from emotional and psychological trauma caused by violence against their pets. Multiple studies have shown that domestic abusers often seek to manipulate or intimidate their victims by threatening or harming their pets, but according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), only three percent of domestic violence shelters across the country accept pets.
“The PAWS Act helps domestic violence survivors flee their abusers, without having to fear for the safety of their family pets,” the Senators said. “The dilemma of choosing between your own safety and that of a beloved family pet is a serious but often overlooked problem that we must solve.”
The PAWS Act expands existing federal domestic violence protections to include threats or acts of violence against a victim’s pet, and provides grant funding to programs that offer shelter and housing assistance for domestic violence victims with pets. The bill also requires the full amount of the victim's losses for purposes of restitution in domestic violence and stalking offenses to include any costs incurred for veterinary services relating to physical care for the victim's pet.
The ASPCA reported that a study in Wisconsin found 68 percent of domestic violence survivors reported their abusers were also violent towards their animals. A similar study found that as many as 25 percent of domestic violence survivors have returned to an abusive partner out of concern for their pet. A separate 2007 study found that as many as one-third of domestic abuse survivors reported they delayed leaving an abuser for an average of two years out of concern for the safety of their pet.
“The Action Alliance is pleased to see Senators Warner and Kaine supporting legislation that will help survivors of domestic violence get the resources they need without having to compromise between their safety and that of their pets,” said Kristi VanAudenhove, Executive Director of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. “This effort to support survivors in their decision to leave dangerous situations is a welcome step in the right direction.”
“We, as a society, should help people—and the companion animals who share their lives—take steps to get away from their abusers. I heartily thank Senator Warner, who joins Senator Kaine, in helping to institute a new federal tool in the toolbox to fight the horrors of domestic violence,” said Rob Blizard, Executive Director of the Norfolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). “A state’s borders will never stop abusers who mean to threaten, hurt or kill—but the PAWS Act provides a needed federal approach to help victims escape the dangerous behavior of people who should instead be loving and protecting them.”
The PAWS Act is supported by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Humane Society of the United States, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the National Link Coalition, the Sheltering Animals & Families Together (SAF-T) Program, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Animal Welfare Institute, RedRover, the National Animal Care & Control Association, the National District Attorneys Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, YWCA USA, the American Kennel Club, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
Below is a list of Animal Welfare Institute “Safe Havens” in Virginia. These sheltering services currently assist the victims of domestic violence who would be aided by the PAWS Act, by placing their companion animals out of harm's way so that they may seek safety for themselves:
- Abingdon - People Incorporated Domestic Violence Program
- Alexandria - Alexandria Domestic Violence Program & Animal Welfare League of Alexandria: Safekeeping Program
- Alexandria - Fairfax Victim Assistance Network
- Alexandria - North Virginia Family Services
- Alexandria - Peaceful Families Project
- Amherst - Amherst County Commission Against Domestic Violence
- Arlington - Animal Welfare League of Arlington
- Arlington - Doorways for Women & Families
- Ashland - Hanover Safe Place
- Bedford - Bedford Domestic Violence Coalition
- Charlottesville - She: Shelter for Help in Emergency
- Christiansburg - Petsafe of the New River Valley
- Covington - Safehome Systems
- Dumfries - Acts: Turning Points
- Fairfax - Artemis House Shelter House
- Fairfax - Fairfax County Animal Shelter / Fairfax County Police Department
- Fredericksburg - Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence / Empowerhouse
- Gate City - Hope House of Scott County
- Glen Allen - Henrico County MHC-Domestic Violence Treatment
- Gloucester - Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society
- Gloucester - Laurel Shelter
- Harrisonburg - Cat's Cradle of The Shenandoah Valley
- Harrisonburg - First Step: A Response to Domestic Violence
- Herndon - Fairfax County Women's Shelter: Artemis House
- Leesburg - Loudon Abused Women's Shelter/emergency Shelter for Pets
- Leesburg - Loudon County & Leesburg City Victims Witness Office
- Lexington - Project Horizon
- Marion - Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society
- Martinsville - Citizens Against Family Violence
- New Kent - Project Hope at Quin Rivers Agency
- Norfolk - YWCA Of South Hampton Roads - Women in Crisis
- North Tazewell - Clinch Valley Community Action-Family Crisis Services
- Norton - Family Crisis Support Services
- Onancock - Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Portsmouth - Family Violence Prevention
- Portsmouth - Help and Emergency Response
- Radford - Women's Resource Center of The New River Valley
- Richmond - Domestic Violence Interventions
- Richmond - Richmond SPCA/Sheltering Animals of Abused Families
- Richmond - Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline
- Richmond - YWCA - Women's Advocacy Program
- Roanoke - Tap Domestic Violence Services
- Roanoke - Turning Point - The Salvation Army
- Rocky Mount - Franklin County Family Resource Center
- Staunton - New Directions Center
- Virginia Beach - Samaritan House
- Virginia Beach - Virginia Beach SPCA: Temporary Foster Program Service
- Williamsburg - Avalon Center
- Winchester - The Laurel Center
- Woodstock - Response, Inc.
- Wytheville - Family Resource Center
Warner & Kaine Recommend Two for Vacancy On U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Dec 21 2017
WASHINGTON —Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) sent a letter to the White House recommending Patricia Tolliver Giles and Judge Rossie David Alston, Jr. to fill the vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District following the retirement of Judge Gerald Lee.
Giles and Alston both were recommended by an independent panel of attorneys from across the Commonwealth selected by Sens. Warner and Kaine to interview qualified applicants. Giles is currently an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, and Alston has served as a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia since 2009.
“Under his tenure, Judge Lee served with great distinction on the bench and in the legal community. While presiding over a court with one of the busiest dockets in the country, Judge Lee tirelessly mentored youths in the community and fostered the careers of generations of lawyers from the minority Bar,” wrote the Senators. “Consistent with these values, we believe both Ms. Giles and Judge Alston would continue Judge Lee’s legacy…Ultimately, we believe either of these individuals would serve in the judiciary with great distinction and we are honored to recommend them to you.”
The White House will now nominate one individual to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the full Senate.
The full text of today’s letter appears below.
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We are pleased to recommend Ms. Patricia Tolliver Giles and Judge Rossie David Alston, Jr. for the vacancy in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia left vacant by Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, who retired in September. Under his tenure, Judge Lee served with great distinction on the bench and in the legal community. While presiding over a court with one of the busiest dockets in the country, Judge Lee tirelessly mentored youths in the community and fostered the careers of generations of lawyers from the minority Bar.
Consistent with these values, we believe both Ms. Giles and Judge Alston would continue Judge Lee’s legacy. As Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, Ms. Giles serves on the Major Crimes Unit, where she has risen to prosecute some of the most serious cases in the office, including prosecution of MS-13 gang members for capital murder of a federal witness. Our advisory panel and various Bar Associations in the Commonwealth found her record most impressive.
Key members of the Virginia Bar also spoke highly of Judge Alston, who first joined the Commonwealth bench in 1998 and received an appointment to the Virginia Court of Appeals in 2009. He has also devoted significant time to the legal community, where he is an active member of various Bar associations, including the Old Dominion Bar. As a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, he has taught courses in trial advocacy, criminal courts, and professional development. On Friday nights, Judge Alston changes his judicial robe for referee stripes to officiate Virginia high school football games.
Ultimately, we believe either of these individuals would serve in the judiciary with great distinction and we are honored to recommend them to you.
# # #
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the below statement on the Federal Communications Commission's plan to repeal net neutrality rules:
“The FCC Chairman has decided to move forward to repeal net neutrality rules without any plan in place to uphold longstanding open internet principles supported by both Democratic and Republican Administrations. I am deeply concerned that the FCC’s current plan would amount to a green light for potential anti-competitive practices by certain internet service providers, with the Chairman signaling the Commission’s unwillingness to protect consumers and small businesses from potential abuse.”
Oct 27 2017
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined 30 of their Senate colleagues in writing to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requesting information on the impact of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act highlighted in a recent report from the Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The Senators are working with the agencies to ensure they have the tools they need to fight the addiction epidemic.
“In light of these reports and as Congress evaluates this law taking into account the nation’s addiction epidemic, it is critical that we have all the information necessary to ensure the federal government is doing everything it can to help support our states and local communities in our collective fight against this epidemic,” wrote the Senators in the letter. “We want to ensure the Drug Enforcement Administration and other related agencies have all of the tools necessary to fight this epidemic.”
Current law requires the DEA Administrator to submit a report to Congress identifying any residual issues with diversion efforts, including information on whether coordination between the industry and law enforcement has helped with diversion. This report is past-due and the Senators want HHS and the DEA to provide the information so they can determine how the best action to take to ensure the DEA has the tools it needs to fight the opioid epidemic.
Full text of the letter is available below and here.
Acting Secretary Eric Hargan
United States Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Acting Administrator Robert Patterson
United States Drug Enforcement Administration
8701 Morrissette Dr.
Springfield, VA 22152
Dear Acting Secretary Hargan and Acting Administrator Patterson:
This weekend’s Washington Post article entitled “The Drug Industry’s Triumph Over the DEA” and CBS’s related 60 Minutes expose on the opioid epidemic have raised significant questions regarding the impact of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act (P.L. 114-145), which was signed into law in April of 2016. As members of Congress from states severely affected by the nation’s addiction epidemic, we are concerned by these recent news reports and the issues they raise, and we write to request that you immediately provide Congress with an update on the law’s impact on the war against addiction.
In light of these reports and as Congress evaluates this law taking into account the nation’s addiction epidemic, it is critical that we have all the information necessary to ensure the federal government is doing everything it can to help support our states and local communities in our collective fight against this epidemic. We want to ensure the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other related agencies have all of the tools necessary to fight this epidemic, which is why we also request that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in coordination with DEA, immediately provide Congress with a status update on the Report to Congress required under Section 3 of the law.
As you are aware, Section 3 of P.L. 114-145 requires the Secretary of HHS, in coordination with the DEA Administrator and in consultation with other relevant executive offices, to submit a report to Congress identifying any residual issues with diversion of controlled substances. The law also requires the Administration’s Report to Congress to include a section detailing “how collaboration between Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies and the pharmaceutical industry can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of controlled substances,” as well as a section with suggested “steps to improve reporting requirements so that the public and Congress have more information regarding prescription opioids.”
This report was due to Congress on April 16, 2017. As of October 16, 2017 – exactly 6 months past the deadline for this information – no such report has been submitted to the relevant congressional committees. As Congress revisits the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act and considers whether the DEA has all of the tools it needs to play an effective role in combatting this public health emergency, it is critical that we have the information necessary to evaluate this law.
We urge HHS to act swiftly to provide the relevant committees with an update on the impact of P.L. 114-145 and a report on any challenges in diversion control that may have been exacerbated by the law’s passage by no later than October 30, 2017, as well as a complete Report to Congress as laid out in Section 3 of the law, as soon as possible.
Warner, Klobuchar, McCain Introduce Legislation to Improve National Security and Protect Integrity of U.S. Elections by Bringing Transparency and Accountability to Online Political Ads
Oct 19 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee, U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services today introduced the Honest Ads Act to help prevent foreign interference in future elections and improve the transparency of online political advertisements.
“Online political advertising represents an enormous marketplace, and today there is almost no transparency. The Russians realized this, and took advantage in 2016 to spread disinformation and misinformation in an organized effort to divide and distract us,” Senator Warner said. “Our bipartisan Honest Ads Act extends transparency and disclosure to political ads in the digital space. At the end of the day, it is not too much to ask that our most innovative digital companies work with us by exercising additional judgment and providing some transparency.”
“First and foremost this is an issue of national security – Russia attacked us and will continue to use different tactics to undermine our democracy and divide our country, including by purchasing disruptive online political ads. We have to secure our election systems and we have to do it now – the next election is only 383 days away,” Senator Klobuchar said. “This bipartisan legislation would help protect our democracy by updating our laws to ensure that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as TV or radio stations – and make them public so Americans can see who is trying to influence them.”
“In the wake of Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, it is more important than ever to strengthen our defenses against foreign interference in our elections,” said Senator McCain.“Unfortunately, U.S. laws requiring transparency in political campaigns have not kept pace with rapid advances in technology, allowing our adversaries to take advantage of these loopholes to influence millions of American voters with impunity. Our bipartisan legislation would address this serious challenge by expanding landmark campaign finance law to apply to internet and digital communications platforms that command a significant audience. I have long fought to increase transparency and end the corrupting influence of special interests in political campaigns, and I am confident this legislation will modernize existing law to safeguard the integrity of our election system.”
Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election by buying and placing political ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. The content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology. The Honest Ads Act would prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite.
The Honest Ads Act enhances the integrity of our democracy by improving disclosure requirements for online political advertisements by:
- Amending the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002’s definition of electioneering communication to include paid Internet and digital advertisements.
- Requiring digital platforms with at least 50,000,000 monthly viewers to maintain a public file of all electioneering communications purchased by a person or group who spends more than $500.00 total on ads published on their platform. The file would contain a digital copy of the advertisement, a description of the audience the advertisement targets, the number of views generated, the dates and times of publication, the rates charged, and the contact information of the purchaser.
- Requiring online platforms to make all reasonable efforts to ensure that foreign individuals and entities are not purchasing political advertisements in order to influence the American electorate.
Companion legislation to the Honest Ads Act is being introduced today in the House of Representatives by Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Mike Coffman (R-CO).
“The 2016 elections exposed glaring holes in our ability to police foreign intervention in US elections, and this bill is an appropriate, bipartisan disclosure remedy,” said Trevor Potter, president of Campaign Legal Center (CLC), and a former Republican Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. “Voters have a right to be fully informed about who is trying to influence their vote, particularly foreign powers whose motives are contrary to American interests. The Honest Ads Act gives voters, journalists, and law enforcement officers important tools to help root out illegal foreign activity. The transparency this bill aims to provide in the 2018 elections and beyond will protect and enhance the integrity of our elections, which are the most fundamental component of American self-governance.”
“Ensuring transparency and accountability remain encoded into our democracy in the 21st century has taken on new importance and relevance in the wake of the 2016 election. We hope this bill, which merits serious consideration, catalyzes an overdue public debate and substantive action in Congress and the Federal Election Commission to create platform parity for political ad disclosure across TV, radio, print and Internet companies. Opacity by design is not an acceptable status quo for the technology giants that shape public knowledge and discourse with limited accountability,” said Alexander B. Howard, Deputy Director of the Sunlight Foundation.
“The bipartisan introduction of the Honest Ads Act is an important step toward bringing American campaign finance law into the internet age, by ensuring that online political advertisements are subject to the same kind of disclosure rules that already exist for ads on television and radio,” said Lawrence Norden, Deputy Director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “At a time when hostile foreign powers are trying to exploit loopholes in our campaign laws to manipulate American elections, it is especially important for Congress to come together across partisan lines to strengthen our democracy. The Brennan Center applauds Senators Klobuchar, Warner and McCain for reaching across partisan lines to introduce this significant bill.”
“Americans have a right to know who is using political advertising to influence their votes and their views. As technology changes and political advertising shifts to online platforms, our transparency laws should keep pace. The recent revelations of Kremlin-connected influence operations on Facebook and Twitter underscore how important it is for Congress to take meaningful action. The HONEST Act is a critical step forward in enhancing the transparency of online political advertising. Common Cause commends Senators Klobuchar, Warner and McCain for their strong bipartisan leadership in introducing this important bill to bolster the integrity of our democracy,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause.
As Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight jurisdiction over federal elections, Klobuchar has introduced legislation to improve the security of U.S. election systems and make commonsense improvements to election administration. She and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the bipartisan Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act to strengthen disclosure by requiring federal campaigns to use existing credit card verification protocols to help verify that online credit card donations come from U.S. sources. Klobuchar and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also introduced bipartisan legislation to help states block cyber-attacks, secure voter registration logs and voter data, upgrade election auditing procedures, and create secure and useful information sharing about threats. In June, Klobuchar introduced the Helping State and Local Governments Prevent Cyber Attacks Act to help combat foreign interference by providing state and local governments with the information and resources they need to keep our elections secure and improve voter confidence.
As vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Warner has been at the forefront of the Committee’s ongoing bipartisan counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Warner also is the co-founder of the Senate’s bipartisan Cybersecurity Caucus. In addition, Sen. Warner is working to finalize bipartisan legislation to create a comprehensive, nationwide and uniform data breach standard, requiring timelier consumer notification for breaches of financial data and other sensitive information, and setting national data-protection standards for companies handling sensitive personal information.
Senator McCain has been a champion of campaign finance reform for decades. As a lead author of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, he has long advocated of transparency in the American electoral process.
Congress Approves Bipartisan, Bicameral Resolution Condemning White Nationalists, Neo Nazis, KKK and Other Hate Groups
Sep 12 2017
WASHINGTON – Congress today approved a bipartisan, bicameral resolution led by Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA)—prompted by the violence and domestic terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Va. last month—condemning white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups. The joint resolution (S. J. Res. 49) also calls upon the Trump Administration to use all available resources to improve data collection on hate crimes and to work in a coordinated way to address the growing prevalence of hate groups.
“Our nation’s elected leaders have a responsibility to stand up to forces of hatred and bigotry wherever they may be found. What happened in Charlottesville was domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists who tragically cut short the life of a young woman, Heather Heyer, and led to the deaths of two Virginia State Police troopers Berke Bates and Lt. Jay Cullen. The United States Congress has spoken up with one voice to recognize the lives of those we lost, to unconditionally condemn racist speech and violence, and to denounce the white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other hate groups,” said the Senators. “We hope that President Trump will move quickly to sign this resolution and commit his Administration to address the rise of hate groups.”
The legislation was co-sponsored in the Senate by 57 bipartisan Senators, including Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
A companion version with identical language was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week by Reps. Tom Garrett (R-VA-5) and Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11) with support from the entire Virginia House delegation.
The joint resolution recognizes the death of Heather Heyer, 32, and the injuries suffered by many others after a car allegedly driven by a neo-Nazi slammed into a crowd of counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville. The resolution specifically describes that event as a “domestic terrorist attack.” The resolution also acknowledges the heroism and public service of Virginia State Police troopers Berke Bates and Lt. Jay Cullen, who died in the crash of their helicopter while monitoring the protests. Finally, it expresses support for the people of Charlottesville as that community heals “following these acts of violent bigotry.”
The joint resolution also has the support of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. It now heads to President Trump for his signature.
Sens. Warner, Kaine, Gardner, Isakson Lead Bipartisan Resolution Condemning White Nationalists, Neo Nazis And Other Hate Groups
After Charlottesville, resolution urges Trump Administration to address threats posed by hate groups
Sep 06 2017
WASHINGTON – This morning, during the first full session of the Senate since the deadly violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Va., on August 11 and 12, 2017, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) are introducing a bipartisan resolution condemning white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups. The joint resolution (S. J. Res.) also calls upon the Trump Administration to use all available resources to improve data collection on hate crimes and to work in a coordinated way to address the growing prevalence of hate groups.
The joint resolution recognizes the death of Heather Heyer, 32, and the injuries suffered by 19 other people after a car allegedly driven by a neo-Nazi slammed into a crowd of counter demonstrators in Charlottesville. The resolution specifically describes that event as a “domestic terrorist attack.” The resolution also acknowledges the heroism and public service of Virginia State Police troopers Berke Bates and Lt. Jay Cullen, who died in the crash of their helicopter while monitoring the protests. Finally, the resolution expresses support for the people of Charlottesville as that community heals “following these acts of violent bigotry.”
The Senators hope for quick action by the Senate to pass the resolution, which has support from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Anti-Defamation League, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The text of the resolution is available here.