- The Washington Times - Friday, July 19, 2019

The head of the National Republican Congressional Committee dismissed Thursday the idea of agreeing with Democrats not to campaign using hacked or stolen material.

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is “not serious” about the proposed pact.

“It’s all political hackery,” the NRCC chairman said during an event held by the Christian Science Monitor.

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“Here’s the one rule we have at the NRCC,” Mr. Emmer told reporters. “We will never compromise our integrity and we will always be honest. We will be brutally honest, but we will always be honest.”

Both the Democratic National Committee and NRCC were breached during the 2016 U.S. presidential race, resulting in the compromise of emails and other sensitive material later leaked online prior to Election Day and touted on the campaign trail by Republican candidates, including President Trump.

Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies have since determined that Russian military officers hacked the DNC and NRCC during a broader state-sponsored interference campaign, and government officials have warned as recently as this week about similar threats facing the 2020 presidential race.

Democrats have proposed several times in the interim that both parties promise to ban candidates from campaigning using similarly obtained material, but Republicans including Mr. Emmer and the previous NRCC chairman, Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio, have been reluctant to sign a pledge outright declaring hacked data off-limits.

Rep. Cheri Bustos, Illinois Democrat and chair of the DCCC, raised the issue with Mr. Emmer within months of their tenures starting atop the committees, which each works to elect candidates from their respective parties to the House of Representatives.

“As the heads of two major party organizations in our nation, we have an obligation to send a clear and unified message that Democrats and Republicans reject foreign interference in our elections,” Ms. Bustos said in April.

The DCCC subsequently issued a press release the following month, written in Russian, that hounded Mr. Emeer for not answering whether the NRCC would agree not to use hacked or stolen information.

Responding to Mr. Emmer’s latest comments, DCCC spokesman Cole Leiter said the Republican chairman is “rolling out the red carpet for the next Russian or Chinese hack.”

“This isn’t complicated, the NRCC has used hacked and stolen materials before, they should commit to ending that reckless and dangerous practice right now,” Mr. Lieter told The Daily Beast, where Mr. Emmer’s remarks were first reported.

The Department of Justice has previously filed criminal charges against a dozen Russian military officers accused of hacking Democratic victims during the 2016 race. Moscow has denied responsibility.

On Friday, Mr. Trump’s top intelligence official announced the creation of a new government position dedicated to countering ongoing threats to election security.

In a statement, Director of National Intelligence Daniel R. Coats said election security remains an “enduring challenge and a to priority” for the U.S. intelligence community.

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