A Florida Democrat is teaming up with a New York Republican in the U.S. House in calling on the American intelligence community to monitor the financial activities and networks used by Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
From her perches on the U.S. House Intelligence, Judiciary, and Homeland Security Committees, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., paired up with U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, to bring out the “Vladimir Putin Transparency Act.” The bill “requires the creation and submission to Congress of a report on the personal net worth of and assets owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
Demings explained the rationale behind the bill on Wednesday.
“Russia and Putin have been allowed free reign by this administration and as a result our democracy is still at risk,” Demings said. “The best way to assail the power of Putin and his enablers is to go after the illegal and secret financial streams that fund their operations. It’s time to fight back and protect our democracy.”
Demings jabbed the Trump administration’s efforts to counter Putin.
“Twenty-six Russians and three Russian companies have already been indicted for interfering with the 2016 election, but this administration has done little to prevent future attacks. Russia has continued its campaigns of disinformation, propaganda, and political and military pressure against U.S. allies and interests,” Demings added.
Stefanik, who sits on the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, also weighed in on the proposal.
“Putin and his political allies seek to weaken democracies worldwide by consolidating their political control through unethical means. I am proud to cosponsor this bill which aims to identify Putin and his allies for who they are: nefarious political actors undermining democracies,” Stefanik said.
The bill was sent to the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Financial Services Committees. So far, there is no counterpart over in the Senate.
With her background in law enforcement, including more than 25 years service with the Orlando Police Department (OPD), Demings has increasingly becoming a favorite of Democrats at the national level. From 2007 through 2011, when she retired, Demings served as chief of the OPD. Back in 2012, Demings offered U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., a surprisingly close race. After the latest round of congressional redistricting, the district became far more palatable for Democrats. Webster packed his bags to run for an open seat up north while, despite some respectable opposition in the primary, Demings ran over her rivals to win his old seat. Demings did not face any opposition in last year's general election.