Collins is first GOP senator to back bill requiring campaigns report foreign assistance offers to FBI

Greg Nash

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is signing on to a bill to require campaigns to report foreign assistance offers to the FBI, giving the legislation its first GOP supporter.

“Russia’s efforts to interfere in our elections remain relentless. I’m proud to join Sen. @MarkWarner in cosponsoring the bipartisan FIRE Act to require presidential candidates to immediately call the FBI if they are contacted by a foreign power attempting to target our elections,” Collins tweeted Tuesday.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the bill’s sponsor, announced earlier Tuesday that Collins had signed on, saying that Congress needed “to make it clear for presidential campaigns going forward: if a foreign power contacts you attempting to interfere in our elections, you call the FBI.”

{mosads}But her support comes as election security legislation has emerged as an increasingly partisan fight in the Senate. Republicans have blocked attempts by Democrats to pass House bills, arguing that they are meant to politically benefit Democrats.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted his critics Tuesday accusing them of “lying” and “modern-day McCarthyism.” Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) fired back that the GOP leader should bring a bill up for a vote if he didn’t like the criticism. 

Under Warner’s bill, campaign officials would have to report contacts with foreign nationals who are trying to make campaign donations or coordinate with the campaign to the Federal Election Commission, which would, in turn, notify the FBI.

The proposal shot into the spotlight after President Trump suggested he would be open to accepting information on a political opponent from a foreign government. 

“OK, let’s put yourself in a position: You’re a congressman, somebody comes up and says, ‘Hey I have information on your opponent.’ Do you call the FBI? You don’t,” Trump told ABC News last month.

Updated at 10:46 a.m.

Tags Charles Schumer Donald Trump Election Security FBI foreign influence Mark Warner Mitch McConnell Senate Susan Collins
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