A Russian woman named Elena Alekaseevna Khusyaynova has been indicted for trying to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections, according to multiple media reports.
According to The Washington Post, Khusyaynova was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Federal prosecutors in Alexandria alleged that she worked on behalf of “Project Lakhta,” an organization attempting to “to sow discord in the U.S. political system.” She is not currently in U.S. custody.
“Today’s charges allege that Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova conspired with others who were part of a Russian influence campaign to interfere with U.S. democracy,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers in a statement.
“Our nation is built upon a hard-fought and unwavering commitment to democracy. Americans disagree in good faith on all manner of issues, and we will protect their right to do so. Unlawful foreign interference with these debates debases their democratic integrity, and we will make every effort to disrupt it and hold those involved accountable.”
NBC News reported that the group had attacked John McCain, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell, and former President Barack Obama.
The foreign organization had prepared “a scheme to spend in excess of $10 million since the beginning of the year on targeted social media ads and web postings,” Politico reported.
Khusyaynova worked as the chief accountant of Project Lakhta. The organization is allegedly funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin, who is also known as “Putin’s chef.”
“We are concerned about ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran, to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies. These activities also may seek to influence voter perceptions and decision making in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections,” the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement.
“Currently, we do not have any evidence of a compromise or disruption of infrastructure that would enable adversaries to prevent voting, change vote counts or disrupt our ability to tally votes in the midterm elections.”