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Val Demings’ ‘Vladimir Putin Transparency Act’ passes house

‘Our obligation is to shine a light on his illicit networks.’

Orlando Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings declared Russian interference in American elections to be a “massive asymmetric attack against the United States” in helping persuade the U.S. House of Representatives to pass her bill dubbed the “Vladimir Putin Transparency Act” Tuesday.

The bill, House Resolution 1404, was approved by voice vote Tuesday after Demings railed against Russia’s cyber attacks and other attempts to influence American politics, which she said includes the funneling of Russian money through “Kremlin-connected” Americans and into campaigns.

HR 1404 calls on the U.S. intelligence community and others in the federal government to compile reports to presented to Congress detailing Putin’s net worth and financial holdings, including what the bill presumes are “front” or shell companies, and “identification of the most significant senior Russian political figures and oligarchs who facilitate the corrupt practices of Vladimir Putin.”

“We haven’t done nearly enough to prevent foreign powers and foreign money from attacking our democracy,” Demings said.”This corrupt band of individuals led by Vladimir Putin have mounted a massive asymmetric attack against the United States.”

The bill, cosponsored by Republican U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik of New York, states the presumption that the “government of Russian President Vladimir Putin employs a system of corruption and illicit financial ties as a tool for consolidating its domestic political control and projecting power abroad to weaken other democratic countries” including the United States.

On Tuesday Demings called Putin the “king of this corrupt money” that not just attacks the United States, but which “prop up dictators and human rights leaders around the world in his quest to undermine the world order.”

“Our obligation is to shine a light on his illicit networks. It’s time that we hold him accountable. This legislation will expose the corrupt finances being used to fund attacks against our democracy,” Demings said.

Counterpart language is included in the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019, Senate Bill 482, backed by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

“It’s telling that when Ms. Stefanik and I introduced this legislation we both were attacked by Russian media. What is Vladimir Putin afraid of?” Demings said.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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