BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn objected to a bill introduced on the Senate floor Thursday which would effectively require political campaigns to report attempts of contact by either foreign government representatives or foreign nationals.
The bill was ultimately blocked, requiring only one objection as it was introduced by requesting unanimous consent.
Introduced last month by Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the bill aimed to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to specify actions any political campaign would be required to take if contacted by a foreign entity. In the language of the bill, campaign staff would be required to report the attempted contact to authorities no later than one week after its occurrence.
Blackburn said in a statement that Warner had tried to “rush” the piece of legislation through the Senate, and argued the topic deserved more “careful consideration and debate.”
“Today, I objected to the unanimous consent proposal presented on the floor because it was a blatant political stunt,” Blackburn said. “My colleagues on the left tried to rush this legislation through the Senate without giving it a chance for the careful consideration and debate needed to address such an important issue. Of course action needs to be taken to protect the integrity of our elections, but let’s do this the right way.”
Despite her objection, Blackburn said foreign interference in United States elections is still “unacceptable.”
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, foreign interference in our elections is unacceptable,” Blackburn said. “It was wrong in 2016 and we cannot allow it to happen in 2020. I don’t care whether it is Russia, Norway or wherever else. We won’t tolerate it. Period.”
The Bill’s timing was likely no coincidence.
On Wednesday, an interview between ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos and President Donald Trump drew national attention when the president was asked if foreigners were to offer him information on an opponent, would he accept it or call the FBI.
“I think maybe you’d do both… I think you might want to listen – there’s nothing wrong with listening,” Trump answered. “If somebody called from a country; Norway, ‘we have information on your opponent,’ I’d think I’d want to hear it. It’s not an interference, I think I’d take it.”
Whether the bill will be reintroduced is unknown at this time.