Democratic members of the House Science Committee have called on the panel’s Republican leadership to hold another hearing on security issues related to the nation’s election infrastructure. Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson and Virginia Rep. Donald Beyer requested the hearing in a letter sent Wednesday to Texas Rep. Lamar Smith and Illinois Rep. Darin LaHood —the Republican chairs of the House panel and its oversight subcommittee, respectively — citing lingering concerns raised in the wake of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. “We believe it is our obligation as Members of the Science Committee to examine concerns regarding the cybersecurity of our election infrastructure as well as efforts to identify foreign covert influence operations against U.S. citizens and our democratic institutions that are likely to reemerge as a major issue in the 2018 and 2020 elections,” the Democrats wrote.
The panel held a pre-election hearing on voting infrastructure security in September 2016, but a “groundswell of information” subsequently released about Moscow’s alleged election meddling left lawmakers wanting another, their letter said.
“The Science Committee can serve a critical role in examining potential cybersecurity enhancements and best practices for our election infrastructure and in exploring the development of tools and technologies that may help to identify foreign attempts to undermine our democratic institutions through the use of covert influence operations in the United States,” the Democrats wrote. “We believe the Science Committee must fulfill its congressional duties to provide thorough and appropriate oversight of the U.S. election infrastructure in the coming months, and we are calling on you both once again to execute this important duty as leaders of the Science Committee.”
Hackers targeted election infrastructure during the 2016 presidential race as part of a state-sponsored interference campaign authorized by Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. intelligence officials concluded. Hackers didn’t alter any votes, but their activities resulted in unauthorized disclosures that disrupted the race and particularly the campaign of Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton, according to intelligence officials.