A vendor that provides key services for Maryland elections has been acquired by a parent company with links to a Russian oligarch, state officials said Friday after a briefing a day earlier from the FBI. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch made the announcement at a news conference in the Maryland State House, a gathering that included staff members of Gov. Larry Hogan. “The FBI conveyed to us that there is no criminal activity that they’ve seen,” Busch said. “They believe that the system that we have has not been breached.” In a letter Friday, Hogan, Busch and Miller asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for technical assistance to evaluate the network used by the elections board.
“It is with concern that I learned that information provided to the Maryland State Board of Elections by federal law enforcement this week indicates that a vendor contracted by the Board to provide a number of services, including voter registration infrastructure, had been acquired by a parent company with financial ties to a Russian national,” Hogan said in a statement.
Miller and Busch also said they have asked Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to review existing contractual obligations of the state, and asked for a review of the system to ensure there have been no breaches.
The vendor, ByteGrid LLC, was purchased by a Russian investor in 2015 without knowledge of Maryland state officials, officials said.
In a statement released late Friday the company said, “ByteGrid’s investors have no involvement or control in company operations.”
It also said, “We stand by our commitment to security in everything we do, and do not share information about who our customers are and what we do for them.” ByteGrid encouraged people to read the company’s Maryland elections contract, which is a public record.