Free Speech For People has been at the forefront in the fight to end foreign-influenced corporate campaign spending, researching, drafting, and advocating for legislation on all levels of government. We helped to successfully pass laws in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2017, and in Seattle, Washington in 2020. Seven states (Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Oregon) are considering similar bans.

Last week, Free Speech For People hosted a donor briefing to outline our path to victory in these remaining states. The path begins in New York, where State Senator Michael Gianaris has introduced our model legislation (The Democracy Preservation Act, S.1126) for the current legislative session, which would amend New York election law to prohibit campaign spending from foreign-influenced corporate entities in New York’s state and local elections.

“We are hopeful that New York will lead the way with the passage of this bill,” said Free Speech For People Campaign Director, Alexandra Flores-Quinty. “New York is a state where corporations spend millions to influence elections. With the passage of the Democracy Preservation Act, it will put elections back into the hands of New Yorkers.” 

See the full briefing below:


Across the country, companies with partial foreign ownership have used their money to influence the outcome of elections and political agendas in their favor. Since the Citizens United decision in 2010, most of the biggest corporate political spenders in the United States (including Amazon, Uber, Chevron, and Comcast) fall under the heading of “foreign-influenced.” Therefore, the fight to bar foreign-influenced corporations from spending in U.S. elections dovetails with broader citizen efforts to eliminate corporate political influence more generally. 

“You look at any S&P 500 corporation, and there’s a good chance it’s owned in substantial part by foreign investors,” said Ron Fein, Legal Director at Free Speech For People. “The goal of our project is to demonstrate that the public – at the state, local, and ultimately federal level – can protect our most basic democratic self-government from the depredations of multinational foreign-influenced corporations.” 

Learn more about our efforts to challenge foreign influence in elections here.