Congressman French Hill (AR-02), Congressman Tom Suozzi (NY-03), Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06), and Congressman Gregory Meeks (NY-05) introduced bipartisan legislation that targets Russian corruption and their illicit financial activities, which they use as a strategic tool to promote their interests while harming democracies here and in Europe.
"This bipartisan bill focuses on a very serious threat that is happening to western democracies right now. This isn't about President Trump or Democrats versus Republicans. Russian oligarchs surrounding Putin are using corruption to discredit our open societies and strengthen their sphere of influence.
"For seven decades, America has partnered with Europe to strengthen democratic alliances and economic advances across the globe. The Russian government seeks to undermine those partnerships and the progress we have made. America must work both diplomatically and economically to prevent Russia from violating the sovereignty of its neighbors and encroaching on the freedom of our European partners. This bipartisan legislation will help better use the resources of our government to uncover Russian corruption and influence in Europe," said Congressman Hill.
"Our legislation will monitor Russian corruption in Europe and Eastern Europe to make sure we identify these threats. There's something very dangerous going on in the world right now with the influence of billions of dollars by the Russian government and oligarchs exporting propaganda and exporting their efforts to try and corrupt democracies throughout the western world," stated Congressman Suozzi.
"The United States must remain active in pushing back against Russian attempts to destabilize and undermine our European allies. Russia is using corruption as a strategic tool to weaken democratic institutions and erode public confidence in the Western system. This bill will greater enable us to analyze the threat of strategic Russian corruption efforts and to develop ways to push back against such subversive actions. We must strongly combat Russia's efforts to expand its influence across Europe," said Congressman Roskam.
"It's crucial that we work to counter and shed light on the various forms of Kremlin aggression, as our democracy, and democracies like ours in Europe, are at stake. This bipartisan bill aims to shed light on the Russian government's malign financial influence in Europe. As Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, I'm pleased to join my colleagues, both Republican and Democrat, on this bill and hope we can continue to help protect democracies and fight Kremlin corruption in Europe," stated Congressman Meeks.
The bill would establish within the State Department the Office of Anti-Corruption Relating to Illicit Russian Financial Activities in Europe, which would analyze Russia's financial networks in Europe relating to investments in strategic sectors, including real estate, energy, media and infrastructure, among others. They'll work with the Treasury Department to train U.S. diplomats in working with foreign partners in uncovering and prosecuting illegal Russian financial activity, among other things. The office will also work with our NATO allies in elevating anti-corruption as part of NATO's Readiness Action Plan.