The Honorable Mitch McConnell
The Honorable Chuck Schumer
The Honorable Paul Ryan
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
The Honorable Chuck Grassley
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
The Honorable Richard Burr
The Honorable Mark Warner
The Honorable John Conyers
The Honorable Bob Goodlatte
The Honorable Adam Schiff
The Honorable Devin Nunes
The Honorable Mike Conaway

Dear Senators and Representatives:

Please find enclosed a document outlining a set of benchmarks for measuring the quality and effectiveness of the ongoing congressional investigations into Russian interference in U.S. elections and related matters.

As signatories to the benchmarks document we urge you to publicly commit to conducting your investigation in accordance with the principles and procedures outlined within.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us with questions, comments, or concerns.

The American people want and need a full public accounting of any activity associated with the 2016 election or its aftermath that was illegal, inappropriate, or simply counter to the public interest; who is responsible for such activity; and what should be done to prevent similar malfeasance in the future.

As congressional leaders, you have the best opportunity—and therefore responsibility—to uncover the full truth.  The public deserves nothing less.


Ian Bassin Kevin Kosar
Noah Bookbinder Eli Lehrer
Max Boot Evan McMullin
Mickey Edwards Elliot Mincberg
Austin Evers Claudine Schneider
Mindy Finn Peter Smith
Justin Florence Fred Wertheimer
Lisa Graves


Benchmarks for Ongoing Congressional Investigations into Russian Interference in U.S. Elections and Related Matters

To ensure the effectiveness and credibility of the various ongoing congressional investigations into Russian interference in U.S. elections and related matters, each relevant Committee should commit publicly to certain benchmarks of process and substance, and congressional leadership should commit to adequately resource the investigations. No single benchmark can guarantee a successful investigation, but taken together they are indicia of whether the inquiries are bipartisan, transparent, and adequate in terms of scope and resources.

  1. Scope and Status of the Investigation

The public needs ongoing clarity about the scope of each investigation as new and potentially relevant facts emerge, to the fullest extent consistent with not impeding the progress of the investigation. The following are indicia of clarity around scope:

  1. Comprehensive Bipartisan Cooperation

The integrity of these investigations and the credibility of their ultimate conclusions hinge on bipartisan participation in all stages, including in defining their scope. To preserve the integrity of these investigations and public confidence in investigation outcomes, each relevant Committee should publicly pledge to proceed with its investigation in a cooperative and bipartisan fashion, or explain in writing how and why such procedures are not being used. Indications of bipartisanship include:

  1. Transparency of the Investigation

Each Committee should publicly articulate and follow through on a commitment to transparency throughout its investigation. The following are indicia of transparency:

  1. Public Reporting on the Investigation

Beginning on December 1, 2017, and then at least every four months thereafter, each Committee should issue a public interim investigation report or public update that includes the following elements, with the limited exception described below:

Each Committee’s chair and ranking member should share this information with the public by holding a bipartisan press conference in conjunction with the release of each interim report or update.

The above benchmarks are endorsed by the following individuals:*

Ian Bassin; former Associate White House Counsel to President Obama; currently Executive Director of Protect Democracy.

Noah Bookbinder; former Chief Counsel for Criminal Justice at the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and trial attorney for U.S. Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section; currently Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Max Boot; former senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign 2007–2008, defense policy adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign 2011–2012, and head of the Counter-Terrorism Working Group for Marco Rubio’s campaign 2015-2016; currently with Council on Foreign Relations.

Mickey Edwards; former Member, United States House of Representatives (R-OK); former Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee.

Austin Evers; former Senior Counsel in the Department of State for oversight and transparency; currently Executive Director of American Oversight.

Mindy Finn; former advisor to President George W. Bush and Governor Mitt Romney; U.S. House and Senate Staffer; Twitter, Inc. executive; currently Co-CEO of Stand Up Republic.

Justin Florence; former Associate White House Counsel to President Obama and Senior Counsel to Sen. Whitehouse on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee; currently Legal Director of Protect Democracy.

Lisa Graves; former Chief Counsel for Nominations at the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice; currently executive director of Center for Media and Democracy.

Kevin Kosar; former Congressional Research Service analyst and Presidential Management Fellow; currently Vice President of Policy of R Street Institute.

Eli Lehrer; former speechwriter to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist; currently President of the R Street Institute.

Evan McMullin; former Chief Policy Director for the House Republican Conference, national security advisor to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and CIA operations officer; currently Co-CEO of Stand Up Republic.

Elliot Mincberg; former Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations of the House Judiciary Committee; currently Senior Fellow with People for the American Way.

Claudine Schneider; former Member, United States House of Representatives (R-RI); currently independent consultant.

Peter Smith; former Member, United States House of Representatives (R-VT).

Fred Wertheimer; former counsel for United States Representative and House Committee; former President of Common Cause; current President of Democracy 21.

* Affiliations listed for identification purposes only

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