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Holding Our Top Officials Accountable

Our Nation’s leaders should be held to the highest standard—it is as simple as that.

Like the majority of Americans, I’m very concerned about recent events that have exposed instances of extremely careless mishandling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

This type of behavior by any of our Nation’s top officials demonstrates to the American public that those serving in high office are not being held accountable for their actions, especially for such blatant carelessness that puts our national security at risk.

It’s critical that our leaders are held responsible. That is why I’m proud to introduce the Hold Top Officials Accountable Act, a bill that makes an important change in the law to ensure that top officials that have access to classified information—including Senators, presidentially appointed officials, and Members of Congress like myself—are held accountable for negligence and mishandling of that classified information. This bill makes it explicitly clear that sharing classified information on unprotected electric devices and servers is unlawful.

I also firmly believe that those who are found in violation of these serious infractions should face the proper consequences. That is why my legislation will also increase the penalty for those that are found guilty of mishandling classified information. It will set a mandatory minimum sentencing of two years for those found guilty.

If the American People are entrusting our officials with top secret information, then they should be held accountable to keep that information safe, for the sake of our Nation’s security.

The American People deserve leaders in Washington that are going to take our national security laws seriously. My change in the law will remind all of us the importance of the responsibilities we assume when we take the oath of office. This is a significant, unique and needed change to our current law.