U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) believes what the U.S. Supreme Court made wrong the U.S. Congress can make right again, which is why today he introduced comprehensive legislation to keep foreign influence out of American elections.
For 100 years, corporations and unions have been prohibited from purchasing political advertisements in the final days of a campaign. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed that prohibition with a 5-4 decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. One of the most egregious effects of this ruling is the creation of a loophole that will allow foreign individuals and countries to spend money on American campaigns by laundering it through corporations they control.
"We can take no chances when it comes to keeping foreign influence from tainting the sanctity of our election process," said Pascrell, who was a cosponsor of and voted for the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act. "In today's economy, how can we truly define an American corporation? The fact is many of the largest corporations have gone global. We simply can't take for granted that a brand-name, even a time-honored American household name, represents what's best for American interests. Let's be smart and work toward making sure American elections are decided by Americans."
Under the longstanding the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, foreign nationals are prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in American elections. Rep. Pascrell's legislation expands that ban to include domestic corporations which are owned or controlled by foreign principals. Specifically, the legislation expands the definition of a foreign principal to include corporations that:
-are subsidiaries of foreign companies,
-have one or more foreign members on their board of directors,
-are owned in part by foreign principals,
-or have debt or other obligations held against them by foreign principals.