Our democracy is meant to serve the American people, not foreign interests.

As the Center for American Progress (CAP) states in a report published this week, foreign investors now own a staggering 40 percent of U.S. corporate stock. Ninety-eight percent of S&P 500 companies are at least 5 percent foreign-owned. The ability of these investors to influence our elections and public policy remains a threat to our democracy, drowning out the voices of everyday Americans.

Free Speech For People, in partnership with the Center for American Progress, has served as a pioneer in the national movement to ban foreign-influenced corporate spending in our elections. Our model legislation has served as the blueprint for the substantial progress made to date:

  • In January 2020, Seattle, Washington became the first jurisdiction in the country to enact our model bill, which bars corporations with at least one percent single stock ownership by a foreign investor or at least five percent stock ownership in the aggregate by foreign investors from spending money in local elections. The Seattle City Council unanimously passed this ordinance after Amazon spent over $1.5 million in a failed effort to remake the City Council.

  • In May 2023, led by the local coalition We Choose Us, Minnesota became the first state in the country to outlaw political spending by multinational corporations as part of the Democracy for the People Act.

  • Our model legislation banning foreign-influenced corporate spending in elections has also been introduced in Hawaii, California, Washington, New York, and Massachusetts, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition to covering this nationwide momentum for this bold reform, CAP’s report highlights the legal precedent that supports our model legislation, including the Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling in Bluman v. Federal Election Commission, which upheld, on the fundamental principle of preserving American self-government, the longstanding federal law prohibiting foreign nationals from spending money directly or indirectly in our elections. 

Read the full article here.