Perriello introduces legislation to ban foreign corporate money from U.S. elections

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Fifth District Congressman Tom Perriello has introduced legislation that would ban electioneering activity by corporations whose shareholders include any foreign nationals.

Perriello introduced H.R. 4523, the Save Our Democracy From Foreign Influence Act of 2010, to close a dangerous loophole that “would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans,” as stated in Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissent to a recent Supreme Court decision overturning federal law to allow unlimited corporate spending in electioneering activity,

“George Washington said, ‘Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence… the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.’ That was before the age of global interconnectedness, but the principle remains the same: we simply cannot allow American elections to be influenced by anyone but Americans,” said Perriello. 

He added, “The Citizens United decision threatens our democracy in a number of ways, including opening the door to foreigners being able to have unlimited influence in our elections. Do we really want Saudi oil tycoons and Chinese investors to have a say in our election process? Our campaign finance system is deeply broken as it is, with both parties owned by the special interests – the last thing we need to do is make it worse by allowing them to be owned by foreign interests.”

Under the longstanding the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, foreign nationals are prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in American elections. Perriello’s legislation expands that ban to include domestic corporations whose shareholders include foreign principals.


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