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Russian hacking allegations are serious, KU elections law expert says

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

LAWRENCE — It was announced this week that the CIA and FBI have concluded with a high degree of confidence that Russian hackers interfered in the United States’ presidential election. The CIA also opined that Russia did so with the goal of helping Donald Trump win. While President-elect Trump has discounted the announcement as out-of-hand, President Obama has directed that a comprehensive report on the issue be prepared before he leaves office, and lawmakers from both parties have called for a bipartisan Congressional investigation into the claims.

Mark Johnson, lecturer in journalism and law at the University of Kansas and an election law and First Amendment expert, is available to speak with media about the story. Johnson is an attorney who teaches election law courses in the KU School of Law and courses on the First Amendment, privacy and ethics to KU undergraduates. He can discuss the hacking, the influence it may have had on the election, what the claims mean for the legitimacy of the election, possible Congressional investigations and related topics.

“The evidence indicates that both Democratic and Republican offices were hacked by Russian-connected experts, and that the Russians leaked substantial numbers of emails and other documents from Democratic party operatives but withheld disclosure of the Republican-related documents with an apparent desire to hurt the Clinton campaign,” Johnson said. “Although there is no indication as yet that the actual voting process was affected, the allegations are being taken seriously by President Obama and Congress. Probably to avoid undermining the credibility of his election, Donald Trump is discounting the charges.”

Johnson holds a degree in history from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard University. He is one of the founders of the Kansas City office of SNR Denton, an international law firm.

To schedule an interview with Johnson, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or mkrings@ku.edu.