U.S. Representatives Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) recently introduced legislation that would implement stronger enforcement to protect classified documents and impose civil penalties for officials who mishandle those documents.
“The last thing we want to have is our sources and methods of our intelligence community exposed, have, for some reason, our nuclear codes exposed,” LaHood said.
The Classified Documents Accountability Act would create a civil penalty of up to $500,000 per violation for the unauthorized removal or retention of classified materials. It would also create a screening and certification process for classified materials during the transition period between administrations.
The move comes amid high-profile investigations involving President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump for their handling of classified documents.
“There’s no excuse,” Quigley said. “Everyone who handles top secret documents is told and trained over and over again how to handle these documents and how important it is. It’s not just our national security at stake, it’s the men and women who keep us safe, and it’s those from other countries who help us: Their lives are at stake.”
Both congressmen have also released statements in light of a New York grand jury voting to indict Trump in connection to his alleged role in a hush money payment scheme involving adult film actor Stormy Daniels.