Tom Malinowski was an assistant secretary of state in the final days of the Obama Administration when he took steps to make sure the Senate would investigate Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Nearly a year later, he’s launching a run for Congress.
Malinowski described his experience whistleblowing on the intelligence community’s investigation into Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and his decision to run for office in New Jersey in a piece in Politico Magazine Thursday.
“A year ago, in the final days of the Obama presidency, my colleagues and I in his administration were racing against time,” Malinowski writes. “One day last January, I hand-carried to key U.S. Senate offices a set of unclassified serial numbers of intelligence reports on Russian interference, hoping senators would request the full reports and be inspired to investigate further.”
At that point, he says, intelligence communities already knew Russia interfered in the election, but Obama staffers didn’t know whether Congress or the FBI would put their weight behind an investigation — or whether the incoming Trump administration would try to stop them from doing so.
Malinowski says his walk to Senate officers to hand over serial numbers helped ensure that Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation happened. Now, the former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor is running for Congress in New Jersey’s seventh district. That district is currently represented by a Republican, Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.).
“I’m now running for Congress, and the Russia investigation is rarely the first thing people here in New Jersey talk to me about,” Malinowski wrote in his piece. “But the hopes they do raise — for good jobs, affordable health care, fair taxes, a clean environment — are all at risk if a hostile foreign power can manipulate our democratic process and even hijack our election outcomes.”
Malinowski immigrated to the United States from Poland as a child. Before joining the Obama administration, he worked on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council and for Human Rights Watch.
In his Politico Magazine piece, Malinowski offered three ways to prevent future foreign interference: Securing elections and election technology, more scrupulously keeping foreign money out of politics and combatting online propaganda.
“Protecting our democracy shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” Malinowski wrote. “By joining ranks around such common-sense steps, Democrats and Republicans in Congress can not only protect our elections, but also combat the increasingly poisonous and polarized politics that the Russians were trying to exploit.”
The New Jersey seat is up for a vote during the November 2018 midterm elections.