Following a much anticipated by-election in New Jersey, Tom Malinowski unseated the incumbent five-term Republican representative Leonard Lance. This followed a reclamation of the House by the Democratic party whilst the Republicans retained control over the Senate.
During this time he worked on a number of projects including supporting persecuted minorities targeted by ISIS in Iraq; defending LGBT rights globally and overseeing the appointment of the first Special Envoy for LGBT rights, decreasing civilian casualties from US military operations; and he backed UN efforts to investigate war crimes committed during the Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict.
Whilst initially supporting a domestically led investigation into war crimes in an op-ed piece for Foreign Policy he expressed disillusionment with the process stating:
‘In Sri Lanka, a leaked embassy cable "revealed" the supposedly stunning insight that the country’s leaders can’t be counted on to prosecute those who committed war crimes in their recently ended fight with the Tamil Tiger rebels, since the leaders were themselves responsible for those crimes. This only confirmed what everyone knew the US government knew about Sri Lanka. Yet the U.S. Embassy in Colombo issued a public statement trying to take it back’.
In 2015 he reiterated continued US support for a reconciliation process stating:
"The United States will continue to encourage that process, because experience has taught us that no society can move forward by burying the past. But our greatest hope is that you will keep moving forward”.
In 2016, he reemphasised that there had been ‘an erosion in the confidence’ of Sri Lankan courts which had led to calls for foreign judges to oversee the investigation. Defending such calls he stated, “Sri Lanka itself has contributed judicial expertise to other countries and it has perhaps benefited from that.”
Malinowski has also spoken of the vital role women play within Sri Lanka:
"They help the needy and displaced, encouraging people to build secure and prosperous communities. They’re supporting ex-combatants and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, among other human rights abuses, providing counseling and psycho-social services."
Malinowski had served as the former assistant secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour from 2014-2017.