In light of the anger and anxiety the recent 5-4 Supreme Court ruling the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission has created among the citizenry of the United States it appears as though the Court may have just flung the doors open for the prospects of Foreign Nationals/Entities to directly influnce our elections.
In his dissenting opionion to the majority decsion Justice John Paul Stevens expresed “would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans.”
Our Federal Election Laws have had provisions prohibiting Foreign Nationals from directly or indirectly providing funds to Candidates dating back as far as 1966.
According to the Federal Election Commission: The following groups and individuals are considered “foreign nationals” and are, therefore, subject to the prohibition:
- Foreign governments;
- Foreign political parties;
- Foreign corporations;
- Foreign associations;
- Foreign partnerships;
- Individuals with foreign citizenship; and
- Immigrants who do not have a “green card.”
Domestic Subsidiaries and Foreign-Owned Corporations
A U.S. subsidiary of a foreign corporation or a U.S. corporation that is owned by foreign nationals may be subject to the prohibition, as discussed below.
PAC Contributions for Federal Activity
A domestic subsidiary of a foreign corporation may not establish a federal political action committee (PAC) to make federal contributions if:
- The foreign parent corporation finances the PAC’s establishment, administration, or solicitation costs; or
- Individual foreign nationals:
- Participate in the operation of the PAC;
- Serve as officers of the PAC;
- Participated in the selection of persons who operate the PAC; or
- Make decisions regarding PAC contributions or expenditure.
Corporate Contributions for Nonfederal Activity
Additionally, a domestic subsidiary of a foreign corporation (or a domestic corporation owned by foreign nationals) may not donate funds or anything of value in connection with state or local elections if:
- These activities are financed by the foreign parent or owner; or
- Individual foreign nationals are involved in any way in the making of donations to nonfederal candidates and committees. (Please note that many states place additional restrictions on donations made to nonfederal candidates and committees.)
Non of these restrictions appear to apply themselves to the current threat to our Democracy/Republic created by the recent decision.
The scenarios are mind numbing:
CITGO Petroleum Company was formally the American owned Cities Services Company but is now owned and controlled by the nationalized Venezuelan government entity Petroleos de Venezuela. Under the ruling as it now stands we could perhaps be surrendering the Sovereignty of of Elections by allowing these Foreign Nationals to simply purchase large amounts of media exposure for one Candidate or issue.
Imagine large amounts of funds transferred from Iran to Petroleos de Venezuela for the sole purpose of disrupting our elections. For that matter picture an American Corporation trading openly on Wall Street having large amounts of it’s shares being purchased through Dummy Front Companies controlled by Al-Qaeda.
When you are contacting your Representatives or alerting your friends about Citizens United vs. Federal Election, please make sure they are aware of this issue. Whether you support Foreign investment or don’t support it up until now we Americans were always able to say “At Least “We” Control Our Elections”.