Senator Ben Cardin, Maryland
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin is the Ranking Senate Commissioner on the U.S. Helsinki Commission, as well as the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues. He has been a Commissioner since 1993, serving as Chairman of the Commission in the 111th and 113th Congresses. In 2015, he was named as the Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
Cardin is an outspoken champion for human rights and throughout his career in public service has advocated for accountability and transparency measures to promote good governance and to combat corruption. He recently introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator David Perdue to track, analyze, and report corruption in foreign countries, the Combating Global Corruption Act of 2017.
The Senator is also the lead author of the Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, a law that imposes sanctions on Russian individuals and entities responsible for the death of Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, as well as individuals who commit gross violations of human rights against rights defenders in Russia. Cardin then authored the Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act with Senator John McCain, which became law in 2016, giving the United States the power to deny travel and banking privileges in the United States to individuals who commit gross violations of human rights against rights defenders and dissidents, and leaders who commit acts of significant corruption. Cardin is also the author of the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act, legislation that passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2015 and has just been reintroduced with Senator Marco Rubio.
Among his other legislative accomplishments are the Cardin-Lugar transparency provision of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protect Act, which requires publicly traded companies to report payments to foreign governments for drilling and mining rights, and the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act, a law which he authored with Senator Rubio to ensure transparency in our foreign assistance so that civil society in the United States and in aid partner countries can hold their governments accountable.
Cardin has served on the Foreign Relations Committee since arriving in the Senate in 2007 and served as Ranking Member from 2015-2018. In addition to his foreign relations leadership role in the Senate, Cardin also serves on the Senate Finance and Environment & Public Works committees, and is the Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.