Republican election officials block restrictions on foreign spending in US elections

Once I got my green card this year, I was allowed to make the same campaign contributions as any US citizen: $2700 per candidate. But thanks to the three Republican members of the Federal Election Commission, who refused to even allow an agenda item to begin discussions to commence planning for limits on wholly-foreign-owned corporations making unlimited donations to super PACs, offshore oligarchs living abroad can go on spending tens of millions to influence the outcome of US elections.

US law bans "foreign nationals" from spending in US elections, but if a foreign national creates a US corporation, that business becomes a legal, US person, and can spend as much as it likes, like the Chinese businessman who gave $1.3M to Jeb Bush's super PAC by laundering it through his company, American Pacific International Capital Inc, following the recipe spelled out in a memo penned by GOP power-broker Charlie Spies.

Yesterday's FEC meeting deadlocked when the three GOP commissioners refused to allow any discussion of rules to prevent other foreigner millionaires from buying influence in US elections.

The three Republican FEC commissioners offered their own proposal, that the FEC issue a statement clarifying that the ban on foreign money in U.S. elections applies to independent expenditures direct from corporate treasuries. The proposal would prevent political committees from facing legal consequences regarding foreign money as long as they obtain a statement from corporate donors that no foreign nationals were involved in the decision to make the contribution.

As evidence that this would be sufficient, FEC commissioner Caroline Hunter noted that her husband manages a political action committee and a friend of her runs the domestic subsidiary of a large foreign corporation, and stated that both of them "follow the rules."

The Republican proposal was also stymied by a 3-3 deadlock.

FEC Republicans Kill Attempt to Block Foreign Money in U.S. Elections [Jon Schwarz/The Intercept]

(Image: Lee E. Goodman, Gage Skidmore, CC-BY-SA)