Rep. Maloney Cites Need to Reassure Public About U.S. Voting System
See also Wall Street Journal: U.S. Authorities Probe How Smartmatic Won Venezuela Election Pact
The Member of Congress who first highlighted the need for an investigation of a deal involving voting machine manufacturer Smartmatic is urging the Department of Treasury to make the results of the investigation public when they are finalized. Smartmatic, a company with Venezuelan roots, announced shortly before November’s elections that it was indeed undergoing a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) investigation related to its purchase of Sequoia Voting Systems in 2005.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) wrote this week to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to point out the public unease about electronic voting, due to numerous glitches on Election Day and press stories about the Smartmatic investigation. It has also been reported this week that Smartmatic is the subject of an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into the possibility that the company bribed the Venezuelan government for contracts and may have committed tax fraud.
CFIUS investigations can result in no action if the Committee finds no potential problems, a presidentially-mandated break up of the deal if the Committee has serious concerns, or various levels of mitigation if the Committee believes that there are some issues that need to be addressed. Maloney says that making public the results of the CFIUS investigation would boost public confidence in the government’s awareness of the American voting system.
“Let’s face it, after all of the glitches and disturbing stories we see each Election Day, electronic voting has become synonymous with anxiety and uncertainty,” said Maloney. “The best way our government can reassure the American people that it has total awareness and control of our voting machines is to publicize the steps it is taking to ensure the integrity of our voting system.
“The Smartmatic purchase of Sequoia may well get a clean bill of health, and for the integrity of recent elections, I hope it does. There are many possible outcomes, from an approval to a presidentially-mandated divestiture to a mitigation agreement addressing certain issues. No matter what, the public should be alerted when this case is put to bed and informed about how it was resolved. This is especially true in light of the news that Smartmatic is also the subject of a separate government investigation related to bribery and tax fraud charges. I hope Smartmatic will release the results voluntarily, and if it doesn’t, I hope the Treasury will prod them to do it.”
In May, Maloney first raised questions about Smartmatic with then-Treasury Secretary Jack Snow, inquiring whether the deal for Sequoia had undergone a CFIUS investigation.
In July, the Treasury acknowledged that it had initially contacted Smartmatic, although a CFIUS investigation was not underway at the time. In early October, Maloney wrote to Paulson to apprise him of the lingering questions surrounding Smartmatic.
In late October, Smartmatic announced that it was undergoing a CFIUS investigation.
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