Sen. Jeanne Shaheen introduced legislation Tuesday to help the Justice Department investigate RT America, an arm of the Kremlin-backed RT news network.
Shaheen, D-N.H., said in a statement there is “reason to believe that RT News” coordinates with the Russian government to spread misinformation to undermine the democratic process, making her Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act necessary to give the Justice Department authority to compel organizations like RT America to reveal their funding sources and foreign connections.
“RT News has made public statements boasting that it can dodge our laws with shell corporations, and it’s time for the Department of Justice to investigate. My bill provides the authority needed to request documentation of RT News and find out who they’re accountable to,” Shaheen said.
The statement said RT America is set up to circumvent U.S. reporting and disclosure requirements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The move comes in the wake of last year’s president election and conclusions by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia tried to meddle with the process. Russian hackers broke into the Democratic National Committee’s emails and placed fake news on social media. Investigations also are underway to determine if anyone in the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians.
RT News, which has been on the air since 2005, has three 24-hour news channels, broadcasting in English, Arabic and Spanish, and a documentary channel that broadcasts in English and Russian. It also supports online news platforms in Russian, German and French.
The network’s “about” page says it “covers stories overlooked by the mainstream media” and “provides alternative perspectives.”
RT America is funded by the Russian government and has been accused of being a Russian propaganda arm. Its British counterpart has been cited by regulators for failing to present news impartially. During the 2016 campaign it showed outward support for Donald Trump, Politico reported.