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Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) chairs the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission. Chairman Wilson previously served as the Helsinki Commission House Ranking Member in the 116th and 117th Congresses. He also serves as a Member of the U.S. Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.

“Advocating on behalf of democracies living by the rule of law versus authoritarian regimes living under the rule of gun illustrates the goal of the Helsinki Commission and the work being done to support this objective globally. The commission has always united Republicans and Democrats in an unparalleled manner as it has defended some of the most important global issues from the Cold War and beyond.”

– Chairman Joe Wilson



Principle X of the Helsinki Final Act Decalogue commits the participating States to fulfill “in good faith their obligations under international law.”  This core principle reflects the recognition that the willingness of countries to uphold legal commitments they have made to each other is a necessary component for predictability and stability in international relations. The Helsinki Commission has primarily focused on international law related to human rights, international humanitarian law (war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide) and military security obligations undertaken within the framework of the OSCE.

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Helsinki Commissioners have actively promoted efforts to combat corruption in the OSCE region, focusing on grand corruption. In particular, they have highlighted the threat posed by authoritarian kleptocracy, a form of autocratic government that relies on financial globalization and secrecy to steal, pay off cronies, and maintain power.

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The Helsinki Commission’s engagement on the issue of terrorism has been consistent since the early 2000s, including on initiatives ranging from hearings on Russia’s counter-productive counterterrorism approach, to ISIS recruitment in Central Asia. Commissioners regularly participate in efforts to promote effective, human rights-centered counterterrorism practices across the OSCE region.

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In response to anti-Semitic violence in Western Europe and the broader OSCE region in the early 2000s, members of the U.S. Helsinki Commission pushed for OSCE participating States to recognize anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish violence as a unique region-wide phenomena, given European history, especially the Holocaust. Helsinki Commission-led efforts include annual hearings, legislation within the U.S. Congress, and resolutions adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) on combating anti-Semitism.

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Throughout his life, Chairman Wilson demonstrated a tremendous passion to serve his country and uphold the foundations of democracy around the world, from working as an election observer in Bulgaria, to serving in the United States Armed Forces, the United States Army reserves, and the South Carolina Army National Guard. At the Commission, Representative Wilson has co-introduced legislation such as the Counter-Kleptocracy Act, Transnational Repression Accountability and Prevention (TRAP) Act, Guaranteeing Oversight and Litigation on Doping (GOLD) Act, and a resolution recognizing the International Day of Political Prisoners.

As Chairman, Mr. Wilson has co-led the introduction of the Holding Accountable Russian Mercenaries (HARM) Act in the House of Representatives, bipartisan legislation that would require the Secretary of State to designate the Russian-based mercenary Wagner Group as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). He has also co-led the introduction of the Combatting Global Corruption Act. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation formally designates global corruption as a key U.S. national security policy. It would require the State Department to identify corruption in countries around the world and publicly rank their levels of corruption in a three-tiered system.

In addition to Chairing the Helsinki Commission, Mr. Wilson serves as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he is the Chair of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia Subcommittee and a member of the Subcommittee on Europe. He is also the most senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he sits on the Subcommittee on Readiness and the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. Additionally, Mr. Wilson chairs the Republican Study Committee’s National Security and Foreign Affairs Task Force for the 118th Congress, and serves as Co-Chair of the Bulgaria, French, UK, Korea, Ethiopia, Türkiye, Belarus, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Qatar, Republican Israel, Composites, and Counter-Kleptocracy caucuses. Mr. Wilson is a founding member and Co-Chair of the EU Caucus.

Chairman Wilson’s Homepage >