FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub sent a letter to members of the New York State Legislature, urging them to support the Democracy Preservation Act and protect New York’s state and local elections from foreign influence. “Elections at all levels in the United States have been under sustained direct attack from our foreign adversaries,” Commissioner Weintraub writes.

The Democracy Preservation Act, introduced by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, would bar corporations with partial foreign ownership from contributing to candidates, parties, or committees (including super PACs) or from engaging in their own direct election spending. A companion bill, A7458, has been introduced in the State Assembly by Assemblymember Latrice Walker of Brooklyn.

Key excerpts from the letter:

“New York would be the first state to write such protections into its laws. But while the Democracy Preservation Act is a bold move, it nonetheless fits comfortably within existing federal statutory law and Supreme Court precedent.”

“One of the most important campaign-finance limits we have is that foreign nationals are absolutely barred from spending directly or indirectly in U.S. elections at any political level – federal, state, county, or city. It thus defies logic to allow groups of foreign nationals, or foreign nationals in combination with American citizens, to fund political spending through corporations. One cannot have a right collectively that one does not have individually. Accordingly, the Democracy Preservation Act seeks to ensure that only those corporations owned and influenced by people who have the right to participate in your elections are doing so.”

Read the full letter here.