Challenging Foreign Influence in our Democracy

Free Speech For People has demonstrated critical leadership in the fight against foreign influence in our democracy. Here’s a roadmap to some of our key work.

Fighting political spending by foreign-influenced corporations

Free Speech For People researches, drafts, and fights for state and local legislation to fight political spending by foreign-influenced corporations.


In the news

  • Seattle Times, Seattle City Council bans ‘foreign-influenced’ companies from most political spending (Jan. 13, 2020)
  • The Stranger, Clean Campaigns Act Unanimously Approved by Seattle City Council (Jan. 13, 2020)
  • San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle reels in spending by ‘foreign-influenced’ companies (Jan. 13, 2020)
  • Tampa Bay Reporter, St. Pete council limits outside money in city elections (Oct. 5, 2017)
  • Mass Live, Advocates try to prevent foreign meddling in Massachusetts elections (Sept. 27, 2017)
  • Tampa Bay Times, Defend Our Democracy ordinance means limiting big money and foreign influence in elections can start right in St. Petersburg (June 20, 2017)

Public education

  • Boston GlobeHow Massachusetts can fight foreign influence in our elections (Sept. 26, 2017)
  • The Hill, Local leaders turning up the heat on Citizens United (Oct. 27, 2016)
  • Boston GlobeGet foreign political money out of U.S. elections (June 22, 2016)



Legal support

Enforcing federal campaign finance law against foreign political spending

FSFP v. government of Russia and Trump campaign

In December 2016, Free Speech For People, with our partner the Campaign for Accountability, filed the first complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Russian activity in the 2016 presidential election, and potential Trump campaign coordination, violated the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Case documents
Public education
In the news
  • Washington PostDid Facebook ads traced to a Russian company violate U.S. election law? (Sept. 7, 2017)
  • American ProspectThe simple case against Trump (June 8, 2017)
  • PoliticoFEC member urges escalated Trump-Russia inquiry (May 23, 2017)

fsfp v. citgo and trump inaugural commitee

In April 2017, Free Speech For People filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against the oil company Citgo, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company that owns and controls Citgo, and President Trump’s inaugural committee. The complaint alleges that the companies and the inaugural committee violated a federal ban on donations to inaugural committees by foreign nationals.

Advocating for disclosure of funders of Internet political ads

We now know that Internet political advertisements were in some cases paid for by foreign entities. Free Speech For People has pressed the Federal Election Commission to adopt rules requiring political advertisements on Internet media, such as Facebook, to include disclaimers listing their funders, as are already required for ads in other media.

Other advocacy

Stay updated on Free Speech For People’s work to Challenge foreign influence in our Democracy!


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