The Minnesota Senate passed the Democracy for the People Act on Wednesday, which includes a provision that prohibits foreign-influenced corporate spending in state and local elections. The bill now moves to the Governor who has pledged to sign it into law.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (April 26, 2023) – The Minnesota Senate voted today to pass major democracy legislation which includes a landmark provision that will prohibit the influence of foreign corporate spending in elections. Having already passed the Minnesota House, the bill now moves to the Governor who has pledged to sign it into law. 

The Democracy for the People Act, an omnibus democracy bill designed to strengthen voting rights, protect voters and the elections system, and modernize the campaign finance system, includes a section that will bar foreign-influenced corporations from spending money to influence state elections. It would also create automatic voter registration, authorize pre-registration for sixteen and seventeen-year-olds to vote, and establish a permanent absentee voting list, among other measures.

The new prohibition on foreign-influenced corporations spending money to influence elections stems from model legislation developed by Free Speech For People, a national nonpartisan non-profit organization that works to renew our democracy. Free Speech For People helped to pass similar legislation in Seattle, Washington in 2020. Five additional states  (Hawaii, California, Washington, New York, and Massachusetts) and the federal government are considering similar bills.

Once enforced, Minnesota’s new legislation will ensure that any company that is owned five percent by multiple foreign owners, or one percent by a single foreign owner, will be prohibited from spending money directly or giving it to a super PAC or other entity to spend in Minnesota state or local elections.

“Democracy is for people, not multinational corporations.” says Alexandra Flores-Quilty, Campaign Director at Free Speech For People. ”Minnesota is setting a new standard for democracy in America by ensuring that elections reflect the will of the voters, not foreign investors.” 

“Corporate executives know where their bread is buttered. This bill addresses the threat to Minnesota’s democratic self-government posed by corporate political spending by foreign-influenced corporations,” says Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein.

“When we conducted our statewide polling in November to find out what Minnesotans thought about democracy, it was clear that they wanted their legislators to take action to protect and expand our democracy. And in all that statewide support for democracy, there was one policy that stood out among all the others: banning foreign-influenced corporations from spending in our elections, which had support from 80% of Minnesota voters,” says Lilly Sasse, Campaign Director of We Choose Us. “So, it is a proud day to watch Minnesota become the first state in the country to pass this legislation that puts more of the power of our democracy in the hands of people, not foreign-influenced corporations.”

For more information about the new legislation, visit.


To read the bill, visit