Letitia James, John Bonifaz, and Shanna Cleveland in the Gotham Gazette: Closing the Door on Foreign Money in New York City Elections

In an opinion piece for the Gotham Gazette, Free Speech For People President John Bonifaz and Senior Counsel Shanna Cleveland join New York City Public Advocate Letitia James in calling for New York City to close the loophole that allows foreign entities to leverage ownership stakes in corporations to spend money in city elections. Free Speech For People worked with the Public Advocate to develop legislation, currently pending before the New York City Council, to address this problem.

As the piece explains:

When Citizens United opened the floodgates for corporations to spend unlimited amounts in our elections, it also blasted open a loophole for foreign money to be used to influence U.S. elections. Earlier this month, we collaborated to introduce a bill to close that loophole and keep foreign money out of New York City elections.

While current federal law—affirmed by the Supreme Court in 2012—prohibits foreign governments, foreign-based companies, and people who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents from contributing or spending money in connection with any federal, state, or local elections, after Citizens United, foreign entities can still invest money through U.S.-based corporations that can then spend as much money as they want on American elections. That’s a direct threat to democracy, and one that our federal government has yet to remedy. . . .

New Yorkers deserve to know that foreign money is not flowing into local elections through hard-to-trace corporate channels. This bill upholds the basic principles of American self-government, free from foreign influence.

To read the full piece, click here.

To learn more about the New York City bill, click here.

To learn more about Free Speech For People’s efforts to challenge foreign influence in our elections, click here.

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