Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) plans to introduce a bill giving the U.S. Department of Justice the authority to investigate RT America, the U.S. branch of the Kremlin-backed RT.
In a statement, Shaheen said her bill is in response to a report from the Director of National Intelligence about Russian influence in the 2016 election. That report also examined RT America and raised questions about the network's funding.
The intelligence report said RT "formally disassociates" itself from the Kremlin by using a nonprofit organization to fund its U.s. operations. It also said the network "conducts strategic messaging" for the Russian government.
“We have good reason to believe that RT News is coordinating with the Russian government to spread misinformation and undermine our democratic process,” Shaheen said in a statement. “The American public has a right to know if this is the case.”
Shaheen's bill, called the Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act, would allow the attorney general to request documents from organizations if the DOJ believes the organization or an individual working there is violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
That law requires any person working in a "political or quasi-political capacity" for a foreign government to disclose information about that relationship.
On Wednesday, RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said the bill "yet another example of McCarthyism-style persecution."
“At such pace, they’ll soon start shooting our journalists at the squares. Greetings to Senator McCarthy from Senator Shaheen,” Simonyan said.
The bill comes as both the House and Senate Intelligence committees are investigating Russia's influence on the 2016 election.