Klobuchar asks what steps were taken to protect 2016 election from cyber threats

Sen. Amy Klobuchar – with 25 other supporters in the Senate – wants a detailed explanation.
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Intelligence agencies have said Russia engaged in a campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. elections in some way, and will likely try to do it again. President Donald Trump has reportedly acknowledged and accepted that it happened.

And now Sen. Amy Klobuchar – backed by 25 other Democratic senators – is asking the group in charge of monitoring and securing voting systems across the country to explain everything it did to try to prevent any cyber attacks, as well as what other challenges we might face going forward.

Klobuchar and her colleagues sent a letter to the Elections Assistance Commission last week, asking for all that information because of "deep concerns about Russian interference in both U.S. elections and the federal government."

"As motivated and sophisticated cybercriminals will continue to target our election systems, we must ensure that our state and local election administrators have the resources they need to make critical cybersecurity upgrades," the letter says in part.

Every senator that signed the letter is a Democrat (including Klobuchar's colleague, Sen. Al Franken) or liberal-leaning independent (in this case, Bernie Sanders). Here's the list of things they want explained:

The Election Assistance Commission was created in 2002 after the Help America Vote Act was passed, which laid out minimum guidelines for how states run elections. It's bipartisan, and also provides funding for states to get new voting systems.

Commissioners for the EAC are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. It operates on an annual budget of $10 million, USA Today said.

But will it be around to answer the questions?

Answering these questions might be hard though if the Election Assistance Commission doesn't exist.

As The Atlantic reported, a U.S. House panel earlier in February voted to eliminate the entire commission, saying it's outdated and isn't needed anymore.

It would also shift some responsibilities of the EAC to the Federal Elections Commission, USA Today reported.

Opponents who want to see it stay argue that with cybersecurity such an important topic right now, the commission shouldn't go anywhere.

Republicans have actually tried to eliminate it since 2011, but always faced a block from former President Barack Obama, The Atlantic wrote.

The bill itself hasn't actually gone anywhere beyond that yet. Whether the House (or eventually the Senate) even take it up isn't known.

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