U.S. Reps. Val Demings and Elise Stefanik introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday that seeks to lift the veil on financial assets and hidden networks pertaining to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The bill calls on the U.S. intelligence community and federal government to create and submit to Congress a report on all of Putin's financial holdings, including any potential "front" or shell companies, as well as detail on "the most significant senior Russian political figures and oligarchs who facilitate the corrupt practices" of the Russian president.
Included in the bill are references to intelligence reports that state Putin ordered a psychological influence campaign that consisted of "covert intelligence operations ... by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries and paid social media ... 'trolls.'" "Russia and Putin have been allowed free reign by this administration and as a result our democracy is still at risk," Demings, D-Orlando, says in a news release.
"The best way to avail the power of Putin and his enablers is to go after the illegal and secret financial streams that fund their operations." The legislation states that the reports would be prepared by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, with the help of the Secretary of Treasury and the Secretary of State. It would be presented within 180 days of its passage to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Ways and Means, as well as the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the Senate Committee on Finance.
"Twenty-six Russians and three Russian companies have already been indicted for interfering with the 2016 election, but this administration has done little to prevent future attacks," says Stefanik, R-New York. "Russia has continued its campaigns of disinformation, propaganda and political and military pressure against the U.S. and allies. Putin and his political allies seek to weaken democracies worldwide by consolidating their political control through unethical means." Demings is a member of the House Intelligence, Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees and the Congressional Election Protection Task Force.
Stefanik is a member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees. Last year, the bipartisan congressional duo introduced the Defend Against Russian Disinformation Act, which seeks to strengthen federal cybersecurity, support intelligence gathering and enhance NATO military activities.
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