WASHINGTON, DC – Today Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08), along with 15 of his colleagues sent a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler urging the SEC to take steps to address foreign spending in U.S. elections. The letter calls for the SEC to consider a range of options under its current authority to help reveal foreign influence in our elections via U.S. businesses, including requiring regulated U.S. businesses to disclose foreign ownership and working with agencies that regulate foreign spending in U.S. elections to identify businesses that are appreciably foreign-owned and are spending business funds for election-related purposes.
The letter furthers Congressman Raskin’s efforts to keep foreign-influenced U.S. corporations from funneling money into U.S. elections, including legislation he filed earlier this year, the Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act (H.R. 6283). The bill would close a campaign finance loophole that allows foreign-owned, foreign-controlled, or foreign-influenced U.S. corporations to spend unlimited cash in U.S. elections.
“Current law bars individual foreign nationals from personally contributing to federal campaigns; yet foreign political spending can still take place via U.S.-registered corporations that are foreign subsidiaries or appreciably foreign-owned or foreign-controlled, all thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling,” the lawmakers wrote. “When the Court consecrated corporate political spending rights in Citizens United, it created a massive foreign money loophole in our country’s campaign finance system. The problem is that domestically registered corporations can be taken over, appreciably bought-up, controlled, or influenced by foreign governments, foreign corporations, or foreign nationals.”
The lawmakers continued, “As you know, existing federal law allows the SEC to require regulated businesses to file a range of important information with the agency, including information regarding shareholders that own appreciable amounts of a regulated business’ stock (see 17 C.F.R. §§ 240.13d-1, 240.13d-101). Expanding these reporting obligations to require businesses to disclose appreciable foreign ownership or control would go a long way in helping to protect our democracy.”
Full text of the letter can be found here.
The full list of signatories includes: Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Katie Porter (CA-45), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-03), Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) and Nikema Williams (GA-05).