Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo will be on “60 Minutes” Sunday retelling how information stolen by Russian hackers was used against her in her 2016 congressional race.
The Miami Democrat, who has talked about the experience before, is featured prominently in the episode about Russian election interference efforts in 2020.
“You know, I’ve been told by a lot of people, ‘You should stop talking about this. It’s really not good for you politically to remind people that you lost,’" Taddeo told the show. "But I refuse to stop talking about it. Because, again, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. And it didn’t happen to me: It happened to our democracy.”
In 2016, Russian government officials using the pseudonym Guccifer 2.0 stole thousands of pages of documents from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and released them online. The committee works to elect Democrats to Congress, efforts that include vetting them for potential attacks by their opponents.
The information included Taddeo’s secret internal strategy plan for her 2016 Democratic primary congressional race against former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, and they stated that Taddeo had “proven to be a somewhat poor fund-raiser,” according to the New York Times.
The documents also included damaging information about Garcia, including that he was apparently caught on C-Span “picking his earwax and seemingly eating it, and the video made the rounds on the internet,” according to the Times.
But Taddeo, who lost to Garcia, criticized him for using the information.
“My opponent Joe Garcia showed up at that debate with a printout of all the documents,” Taddeo said, according to a preview of Sunday’s episode. “We’ve seen a lot [in Southern Florida.] But this was a foreign government. This was so much bigger.”
Garcia narrowly defeated Taddeo but lost to incumbent Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo.
Taddeo wasn’t the only victim of the hacking. The stolen documents included internal opposition research into former Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Graham. While running for governor in 2018, she joked about how little “dirt” was in the documents.
The hacking of the DCCC was part of a larger effort to damage Democrats and help elect Donald Trump in 2016, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who last year charged 12 Russian military officials with engaging in cyber operations.
The hackers also stole documents from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The stolen emails eventually forced U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down as the committee’s chairwoman.