Maryland AG probing Russian oligarch’s purchase of state election system software
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) has launched an investigation after it was revealed that a Russian investor had purchased a software company that runs part of the state’s voter registration system.
CBS Baltimore reported that Maryland state Senate President Thomas Mike Miller (D) and House Speaker Michael Busch (D) said that the FBI had briefed them and Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Thursday about the 2015 sale. The state was previously unaware of the sale.
The software vendor, ByteGrid LLC, is financed by AltPoint Capital Partners. That company’s largest investor is Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin, and its fund manager is also Russian, according to the outlet.
The lawmakers announced the revelation just hours after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The indictment also alleged that the Russian officials had hacked into a state board of elections website and stole the personal information of about 500,000 voters.
The lawmakers said Friday that Maryland was not the state referred to in the indictment.
“While the FBI did not indicate that there was a breach, we were concerned enough to ask Attorney General Frosh to review the existing contractual obligation of the State, as well as asked for a review of the system to ensure there have been no breaches,” Miller and Busch said in the joint statement.
The lawmakers also said that they are requesting that the Department of Homeland Security Election Task Force assist the State Board of Elections in its review.
“We have also instructed the State Board of Elections to complete all due diligence to give the voters of Maryland confidence in the integrity of the election system,” the statement read.
Hogan said in a statement that he was also concerned by the FBI’s briefing.
He said that while none of the information they received indicated that there was a breach, “even the appearance of the potential for bad actors to have any influence on our election infrastructure could undermine public trust in the integrity of our election system.”
“That is why it is imperative that the State Board of Elections take immediate and comprehensive action to evaluate the security of our system and take any and all necessary steps to address any vulnerabilities,” Hogan said.
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