Connolly, Pocan Lead 18 Members in Urging Leadership to Withhold ODNI Funds Until Congressional Briefings Resume
Today, Congressmen Gerry Connolly (VA-11) and Mark Pocan (WI-02) led a letter of 18 Democrats to House Democratic leadership demanding that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence be held accountable for their refusal to provide in-person intelligence briefings to Congress, by explicitly requiring Congressional briefings in any upcoming legislation that funds or authorizes ODNI. These briefings are constitutionally mandated and two months prior to a national election, the American people deserve to know about the security of their elections.
“ODNI’s refusal to brief Congress on election security makes it clear that this administration cares more about securing its own power than protecting our elections or the future of our democracy,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “This administration is trying to leave the American people in the dark on the eve of a presidential election. Congress cannot continue funding or authorizing ODNI until Congressional briefings are reinstated. This is not a dictatorship—the Trump administration does not get to control our elections.”
The letter was co-signed by Representatives Brendan Boyle (D-PA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).
See the full letter below and here.
September 2, 2020
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi The Honorable Steny Hoyer
Speaker Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, the Capitol H-107, the Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer:
We write to express our outrage, and grave concern, that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) refuses to provide in-person intelligence briefings to Members of Congress about foreign efforts to interfere in upcoming elections. In response to ODNI’s unprecedented decision, and in anticipation of legislative action on the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2021 and appropriations legislation, we request that the House of Representatives include language in any authorization or appropriation of funds to ODNI compelling the reinstatement of regular briefings on election security for Congress.
Congress should consider all remedies available to enforce regular intelligence briefings in advance of the elections, up to and including withholding of funds from the ODNI entirely. The ODNI’s actions are a betrayal of the American people’s right to be kept informed of attempts to subvert our elections, as well as their statutory duties. It is time for Congress to remind the Director of National Intelligence, and this Administration, that they are not above the law. They must answer to the American people.
We thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to working with you both to combat the increasing lawlessness of Executive Branch agencies and their subversion of the U.S. Constitution and Congress.