WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) today spoke out about the revelations that a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin owns ByteGrid LLC, the company that hosts Maryland’s statewide voter registration, candidacy, and election management system; the online voter registration system; online ballot delivery system; and the unofficial election night results website.
“This latest news from Annapolis reinforces the reality that Russia has been systematically infiltrating America’s political infrastructure for years – and has continued its assault. I am not alone in being astounded that this president still continues to call legitimate criminal investigations into Russia’s malfeasance a ‘witch hunt.’ Each day it seems like more and more evidence is collected that proves the need for the Mueller investigation to continue without partisan political pressure,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC). “Six months ago, I released a Foreign Relations Committee report that documented Putin’s pattern of asymmetric warfare against democratic institutions, universal values, and the rule of law in Russia and across Europe over the last twenty years. The playbook clearly carried over to Maryland and elsewhere across the U.S. It’s long past time for this president to put our country before his own personal welfare and build our defenses against the Kremlin rather than cozying up to the leader who directed his forces to attack our country over and over again.”
“Russian attacks on our democracy are not an abstract idea — they are a threat to Maryland and our entire country. This news is deeply disturbing, and it raises urgent questions about foreign interference in our elections — questions that President Trump is not just failing to answer, but also failing to even ask. With just four months until the November midterms, that has to change. We must immediately pass the bipartisan DETER Act to send a powerful and unequivocal message to any foreign actor seeking to disrupt our elections: if you attack American candidates, campaigns, or voting infrastructure, you will face severe consequences,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on State and Foreign Operations.