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To: Senate Intelligence Committee
Senate Intelligence Committee Must Investigate Russian Ties To U.S. Religious Groups
The arrest of Maria Butina shows the Russian government targeted and attempted to infiltrate U.S. religious groups. We need the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate any ties between Russia and religious groups meant to undermine both U.S. elections and faith bodies. Results of such an investigation must be made public.
Why is this important?
If Russia, in fact, infiltrated U.S. religious bodies, conservative or otherwise, in their attack of America’s electoral system, and if religious groups were used to help a partisan political candidate, the American people have a right to know, and Congress must investigate.
The theology of religious groups in the United States, and the social stands taken by such groups, are of no concern to Congress. Religious groups are protected by the Constitution of the United States and may freely exercise their right to speak on moral issues. If however, knowingly or unknowingly, religious groups took foreign money to influence a national election, such efforts would be against the law. Religious bodies, like all 501 ( c ) 3 organizations, are barred from undertaking partisan political activity. Any move by the Russian Federation to “infiltrate” religious groups in the United States, monetarily or otherwise, should be exposed as an attack on U.S. religious institutions.
Such an attack could undermine the trustworthiness of religious bodies in the United States. It is particularly important that the U.S. Senate determine if any such efforts are on-going. We must protect religious groups in the United States from political influence, certainly foreign influence of which they might not even be aware, and to lift any cloud of suspension. Religious freedom is in jeopardy in the United States if outside groups are misusing faith bodies for nefarious purposes.