FSFP Legal Director Ron Fein recently appeared before the Hawaii State Legislature to provide testimony on why the deliberative body must consider expanding the definition of a foreign-influenced corporation as it looks to safeguard state elections.

The following is an excerpt from his testimony:

For a large multinational corporation, an investor that owns 1% of shares might well be the largest single stockholder; it would generally land among the top ten. Conversely, as the SEC has acknowledged, many of the investors most active in influencing corporate governance own well below 1% of equity.

Of course, this does not mean that every investor who owns 1% of shares will always influence corporate governance, but rather that the business community generally recognizes that this level of ownership presents that opportunity, and—for a foreign investor in the context of corporate political spending—that risk.

Free Speech For People helped develop a law passed by Seattle, WA in January 2020 that challenged foreign influenced corporate spending in the city’s elections, and another bill that this year passed the New York Senate. More recently, Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland introduced the “Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act” to separate foreign money from democratic elections across the country. Raskin’s bill was also based on model legislation drafted by FSFP.

Read Ron Fein’s full testimony here.

Learn more about our work to end foreign-influence in elections here.