Action Item: Support A Bipartisan Investigation of Russian Hacking

Here's an important teaspooning opportunity, Shakers!

Those who live in the US or are voting citizens living abroad can help support a bill to establish a bipartisan Congressional special investigation into Russian hacking, as introduced by California Rep. Eric Swalwell:

...Swalwell, a Democrat along with fellow Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-07), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, had introduced H.R. 6447, the Protecting Our Democracy Act.

Swalwell said, "Our reaction and response must not become bogged down in partisan politics and personalities, and that requires that the investigation be conducted outside of Congress.”

The bill would create a 12-member, bipartisan, independent commission empowered to interview witnesses, obtain documents, issue subpoenas, and receive public testimony to examine attempts by the Russian government and others to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or sow distrust in this year’s U.S. elections. The commission, which would examine similar efforts by any other foreign governments or entities, would issue a final report with recommendations for future security protections to Congress and the President within 18 months of the bill’s enactment.

I especially encourage those with Republican representatives to call their offices--preferably in their home districts--and ask them to support this bill. Be sure to let them know that it's necessary to have a bipartisan independent commission with findings that will be public. Note that this is not what Mitch McConnell is proposing; he plans a GOP-controlled investigation via an existing committee whose findings would be secret. None of that is acceptable in a representative democracy.

I'm not much a scriptwriter, but this is the gist of what I said to my Congressperson's office staffer:

"Hi, my name is (Name) and I live in (town.) I'm calling to ask if (Congressperson) is going to support H.R.6447, the Protecting Our Democracy Act."

The staffer didn't know, so I continued along these lines: "This is a bill introduced by Representative Swalwell which would establish an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the recent allegations of Russian hacking into Democratic offices. I fully support this kind of investigation. If it is true this was an attack conducted by Russia or another foreign power, I consider this an attack just like a military act of war. I also consider it a crime like Watergate, except on a much bigger scale. Please convey to Congressman (Name) that I believe the only patriotic thing to do when our country is attacked is to respond in a fully bipartisan and accountable fashion."

We had a bit more talk in which I specified that I did not think Mitch McConnell's solution was enough, because it was not bipartisan or public, because the American people deserve to know. I thanked them for listening and talked about follow-up. The whole thing took about 10 minutes.

You can find your rep at this link.

I also plan to contact my Senators, and ask them to support the call for a bipartisan Senate commission that was recently made by Sens. McCain(R) Graham (R), Schumer (D) and Reed (D). You can find your Senator here. Again, I encourage contacting their home offices if possible.

Calling home offices and making phone calls is the method recommended by former Congressional staffer Emily Ellsworth for maximum effectiveness. For those whose social anxiety or other reasons don't allow for a phone call, there are still other ways to make contact. Most senators and reps have email links on their webpages, so you may e-mail them if able. Snail mail can also be sent. There are also petitions circulating, although I don't know which to recommend. Pantsuit Nations is encouraging people to text 528-86 with INVESTIGATE (all in caps). This will take you to a page where you can fill in a form and get an auto-generated email about an investigation sent to your Senators and Congressperson. You can personalize the emails before sending if you wish. (I have done this.) Phone calls may be most effective, but other methods aren't useless, either.

If your Reps are Dems, encourage them to take a stand, and thank them if they're already supporting this. If your Reps are Republicans, they also need to be encouraged, guilted, or in whatever (polite) way you can find to motivate them. Wave the flag, quote the Founding Human of your choice, and emphasize that you expect them to put the good of the country first.

If you have other ideas, please share in comments below.

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