Schumer seeks election security funding, legislation
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants Congress to boost funding for election security while deriding the Trump administration for failing to prepare for threats to the balloting next year.
In a letter to his Democratic colleagues Tuesday, Schumer said the administration is "not forcefully and adequately responding to the attack on our democracy" in light of the findings by special counsel Robert Mueller. He proposed three legislative remedies, predicting all could secure significant GOP backing, for the sort interference detailed in Mueller's report:
- Provide additional funding for state and local election infrastructure and administration.
- Fully fund the Election Assistance Commission.
- Consider election security legislation, such as the stalled Secure Elections Act, which was sponsored by Republican James Lankford of Oklahoma last year.
At a press briefing, Schumer said Democrats were "going to push for a significantly higher number" than the $380 million given to states last year for election security. State officials have told Congress the money doesn't go far enough. He also urged the Senate to impose additional sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and requested a meeting with intelligence officials to learn what the U.S. is doing to protect against interference with the voting of 2020.
The Federal Election Commission has once again punted on establishing rules for identifying who is sponsoring online political advertisements. Thursday marked the fourth consecutive meeting in which the topic fell to the wayside without a clear path forward.
FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub revived debate on the topic in June when she introduced a proposal on how to regulate online political ads. In her proposal, she said the growing threat of misinformation meant that requiring transparency for political ads was "a small but necessary step."
Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen and Commissioner Caroline Hunter put forth their own proposal soon after Weintraub, but the commissioners have failed to find any middle ground. At Thursday's meeting, a decision on the agenda item was pushed off to a later date.
Weintraub's proposal says the funding source should be clearly visible on the face of the ad, with some allowance for abbreviations. But Petersen and Hunter want to allow more flexibility for tiny ads that cannot accommodate these disclaimers due to space.
The California Supreme Court is fast-tracking its review of a challenge to a new law that would require President Trump to make public his tax returns in order to get on the state's ballot for the 2020 election.
A lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the law was filed August 6 by the California Republican Party against Secretary of State Alex Padilla. It claims the law violates California's constitution.
Two other challenges, one filed by Trump's personal lawyers, are pending in federal court.