Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Demands Secretary Tillerson Explain Why State Department Failed To Spend Any Of The $120 Million Budget Congress Allocated To Counter Russian Electoral Interference
WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi today demanded Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explain why the State Department failed to spend any of the $120 million provided by Congress to counter Russian and other foreign attempts to disrupt American elections and sow distrust in democratic governance.
The text of Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s letter follows and the signed letter is viewable here.
March 6, 2018
The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Secretary Tillerson,
On March 4th, 2016, the New York Times reported that the State Department has failed to use any of the $120 million provided by Congress to counter efforts by Russian and other foreign entities to influence American elections and sow distrust in democratic governments. If true, the State Department has left our country vulnerable to future anti-democracy propaganda from a multitude of sources.
Authorized by Congress toward the end of the Obama Administration, these funds were intended to support the Global Engagement Center’s work to counter Russia’s online propaganda. As a result of the State Department’s failure to take this threat seriously, none of the 23 analysts currently employed speak Russian and the Department has been unable to hire computer experts necessary to track Russian propaganda. Without the necessary personnel and resources, the Center will remain unable to accomplish its mission of assessing Russian propaganda efforts and effectively counter them.
This latest report comes at a time when the White House has exhibited an alarming pattern of failing to address Russia’s role in influencing the 2016 presidential elections as well as harden our systems against further efforts by foreign actors to influence our elections. With this in mind, I respectfully ask that you answer the following questions:
- Why has the State Department failed to spend any of the funds allocated by Congress?
- Did the President or any senior White House officials direct the State Department to not spend these funds?
- Has the FBI, CIA, and the Department of the Defense been informed that the State Department has failed to take action to counter Russian propaganda?
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to a timely response.
Member of Congress