Time: Russia Will Interfere in the 2018 Elections. Those Fighting It Say We're Not Ready
Several parts of the federal government are moving to fight near-certain attempts to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections. But even those charged with the task say their efforts may not be enough.
“We have seen Russian activities and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who President Trump recently selected as his newest Secretary of State, told Congress last month.
The Senate intelligence committee, a loose group of other senators and the Federal Election Commission have made recommendations to improve upon systems they say faltered in the 2016 presidential election. But none have the power to ensure these proposals actually translate into law, and officials are urging quick action.
“This was the most I can get an agreement to do and it was a heavy lift,” Ellen Weintraub, Vice Chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission, said in an interview with TIME. “I wish we could take it further. I wish it could be broader. But this is all we can do in the short term.”
But Adav Noti, Senior Director of Trial Litigation at the Campaign Legal Center, and an associate counsel for the FEC from 2013 to 2017, said agreeing on a rule change, no matter how small, is still an improvement.
“If they’re able to reach agreement on an actual proposed rule-making that would be a step forward, even if it’s incremental,” he said.
Both Weintraub and Noti also stressed the FEC cannot fix all issues of online ad disclosure. And there is a proposal in Congress, the Honest Ads act, which would fix a lot of what the FEC doesn’t address.