In a new article published in Forbes, Ian Simmons provides a detailed account of how foreign investors undermine the US economy and US elections.

In a survey of just six states released earlier this year, nonpartisan watchdog OpenSecrets uncovered that at least $163 million of foreign-influenced cash flooded those states’ races between 2018-2022. OpenSecrets showed that in Montana, a tobacco company with foreign investor cash spent over $17 million to reject expanding health care for Montanans…

In 2018, DaVita, a kidney dialysis company whose shareholders include Norway’s Norges Bank Investment Management, spent $66.6 million to defeat a pro-patient ballot measure. Earlier, foreign-influenced Chevron poured tens of millions of dollars into local races, including spending on TV ads aimed at defeating candidates who criticized the oil company after a California refinery explosion sickened residents.

Cities and states are advancing solutions to protect democracy and close the loophole that allows multinational corporations to spend money to influence elections: 

Efforts are underway to put U.S. interests first when it comes to who is funding our elections. In April, Minnesota became the first state to prohibit foreign-influenced corporate spending in elections. In November, Maine voters passed a similar referendum, with 86% in favor of it. Elsewhere, momentum to act is building. The New York Senate passed the “Democracy Preservation Act” with substantial bipartisan support. States including Hawaii and Washington are advancing bills of their own. And a solution at the federal level has been introduced in Congress.

Most of these bills would prevent companies with 1% or more ownership by a single foreign entity (or a total of 5% or more by multiple foreign entities) from using their corporate treasuries for electioneering in the U.S. While 1% may seem small to some, a 1% owner is often one of a company’s top ten largest owners. In my own experience as an investor, CEOs know who their largest owners are—and, more importantly, what they want and are legally accountable to them.

Restoring self-governance in U.S. elections is good for business. In particular, it levels the playing field for companies owned by Americans. This is especially important for small- and medium-size businesses whose interests are often drowned out by the political spending of giant multinationals.

Read the full article here.