- The Washington Times - Friday, October 25, 2019

The chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee renewed calls Friday for her Republican counterpart to take a stand against candidates using hacked or stolen material.

Rep. Cheri Bustos, Illinois Democrat and the DCCC’s chairwoman, reiterated the request in a follow-up letter sent to the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Appealing to Rep. Tom Emmer, Minnesota Republican, Ms. Bustos recalled asking six months earlier for the NRCC to promise not to seek out, use, promote or disseminate stolen material, effectively reapplying pressure to disavow conduct exhibited by some GOP candidates who campaigned in 2016 touting Democratic data obtained by Russian hackers.

“The urgency I conveyed in April has not dissipated. In fact, the importance of this issue has only grown,” Ms. Bustos wrote the NRCC chair, noting that revelations at the center of an impeachment inquiry being handled on Capitol Hill show that President Trump has been “actively soliciting interference from another foreign government” in the 2020 elections.

“While you and I may not be able to agree on the best way to address flaws in our health care system or strategies for putting Americans back to work, I believe the Committees we chair must work together and stand for the safety and security of our democracy over any partisan goals,” Ms. Bustos wrote.

The two-page letter, seen by The Washington Times and first reported by CQ Roll Call, asks Mr. Emmer to join Democrats in agreeing that NRCC “will not participate, aid or encourage hackers or foreign actors in any attempt to influence American elections,” including by agreeing not to support any campaign or allied group that promotes or disseminates stolen or hacked material, among other promises.

The NRCC did not immediately return messages requesting comment.

Russian state-sponsored hackers breached the DCCC, among other Democratic targets, and stole internal emails and other documents subsequently leaked online leading up to the 2016 elections, according to federal U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Moscow has denied responsibility.

Mr. Trump lauded the leaked emails while running for the White House in 2016, but he was hardly the only Republican candidate to incorporate hacked material into their campaign. The NRCC released an ad attacking a Democratic candidate running for Congress in Florida that highlighted a stolen internal memo, prompting a top DCCC official to respond at the time by accusing Republicans of “aiding the Russian government.”

DCCC leadership has unsuccessfully asked Republican counterparts several times since to sign a pledge promising not to support campaigns that use hacked or stolen material.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, is facing an impeachment inquiry resulting from a phone call in which he asked Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter. Mr. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

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