The State Department unveiled the Rewards for Justice program aimed at preventing foreign election interference. According to Thursday’s announcement of the program, the department is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information. The two types of information the department is looking for include:
- Information leading to the identification or location of any foreign person, including a foreign entity, who knowingly engaged or is engaging in foreign election interference.
- Information leading to the prevention, frustration, or favorable resolution of an act of foreign election interference.
“Foreign election interference includes certain conduct by a foreign person that violates federal criminal, voting rights, or campaign finance law, or that is performed by any person acting as an agent of or on behalf of, or in coordination with, a foreign government or criminal enterprise,” the department said in its program announcement. “This conduct includes covert, fraudulent, deceptive, or unlawful acts or attempted acts, or knowing use of information acquired by theft, undertaken with the specific intent to influence voters, undermine public confidence in election processes or institutions, or influence, undermine confidence in, or alter the result or reported result of a general or primary federal, states, or local election or caucus.”
Examples of the type of conduct stated above, cited by the department in its announcement, include:
- Vote tampering and database intrusions
- Certain influence, disinformation, and bot farm campaigns
- Malicious cyber activities
The most recent high-profile case of foreign election interference involved the 2016 presidential election between former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A Senate Intelligence Committee report found Russia interfered, pursuing a goal of helping former President Trump win.
In a report on the investigation into Russian interference in the election, special counsel Robert Mueller described Russia’s interference as being done in “sweeping and systemic fashion.” Mueller found Russia compromised Democrats’ computer networks and targeted state and local election offices.
Politico contributed to this report.