(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) has introduced the ‘Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act’ (H.R. 1615). The bill would close a campaign finance loophole that allows foreign-owned, foreign-controlled, and foreign-influenced corporations to funnel unlimited cash into U.S. elections.
Although current law bars individual foreign nationals from personally contributing to federal campaigns, foreign political spending can still take place via American-registered corporations that are foreign subsidiaries, foreign-owned, or foreign-controlled and influenced, all thanks to the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling.
As predicted by President Obama immediately after Citizens United was handed down, the decision to endow corporations with the political free speech rights of the people has “opened the floodgates” for foreign corporate cash entering U.S. elections. Raskin’s bill, which has already earned the support of 26 original cosponsors, would prohibit these “foreign corporate loophole” expenditures.
“When the Supreme Court invented corporate free speech rights in Citizens United, it created a massive foreign money loophole in our country’s campaign finance system,” explained Raskin. “The problem is that domestically registered corporations can be taken-over, bought-up, controlled, or influenced by foreign corporations and foreign nationals, and this means foreign powers have an easy and perfectly lawful way to funnel foreign money into American elections.”
“Foreign interests have already spent many millions of dollars on U.S. political campaigns, and we just witnessed unprecedented foreign efforts to undermine our democracy during the 2016 election cycle,” Raskin continued. “We must protect the integrity of American democracy and close this dangerous foreign money loophole. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work with me to build a wall of separation between foreign money and democratic elections."
Raskin, a constitutional law professor, has been a leading advocate for strong democracy, fair elections, and voting rights. As a Maryland State Senator, he successfully introduced legislation requiring outside spenders to disclose their spending in Maryland elections and worked to advance a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
Congressman Jamie Raskin represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, which includes Montgomery, Frederick, and Carroll counties. He is the Vice Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, a Senior Democratic Whip, and Freshman Representative to the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee. He also serves on the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the Committee on House Administration.