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Van Hollen, Cardin look into Russia connection to Maryland voting

August 7th, 2018 by WCBC Radio

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who also serves as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), requesting that the Committee review the transaction between AltPoint Capital, a venture fund whose largest investor is Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin, and ByteGrid LLC, a U.S. web hosting and data center company that is deeply involved in Maryland’s election infrastructure.   


The Senators write, “ByteGrid hosts Maryland’s voter registration system, candidacy and election management system, online ballot delivery system, and unofficial election night results website. Access to these systems could provide a foreign person with ties to a foreign government with information that could be used for intelligence or other purposes adverse to U.S. interests. For that reason, AltPoint Capital’s relationship with ByteGrid must be carefully scrutinized, and if the administration determines that it poses a threat to national security, appropriate remedies must be pursued.”


Additionally, they note, “We know that our elections are under threat from foreign cyberattacks and disinformation efforts. Our democratic process can also be manipulated through foreign investment in elections infrastructure.”


The Senators close by stating, “Based on existing authorities and new authorities recently given to CFIUS by Congress, we respectfully request that CFIUS provide assurance that it has already conducted full and rigorous investigation into AltPoint Capital’s investment in ByteGrid LLC, that it is in the process of conducting an investigation, or that it will review the transaction in order to address concerns that Mr. Potanin’s relationship with the Russian Government may threaten Maryland’s and America’s elections infrastructure and undermine the integrity of our elections.”

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