Today, DPN has released our Foreign Investor Electioneering Ban policy kit—an open resource for legislators, advocates, journalists, and citizens to learn how states can better prevent foreign money from influencing domestic elections.
Since the 2010 Citizens United decision, corporations have been free to spend unlimited sums on US elections. This decision inadvertently “open[ed] the floodgates” for foreign-influenced corporations to electioneer as well. This kit provides an overview of how states can stop this, stemming the flow of foreign investor money into domestic politics.
In 2020, foreign investors owned 40% of US corporate stock. While there is of course nothing intrinsically wrong with incorporating the voices of foreigners in corporate decision making processes, it is a threat to American democratic sovereignty to allow this ownership to provide a backdoor to domestic political spending.
States can address this problem by banning foreign-influenced corporations (corporations in which non-American investors own a certain threshold percentage of shares) from spending in state elections, ballot measures, and local elections within their state. In 2017, with the aid of democracy reform organization Free Speech For People, St. Petersburg, Florida became the first US jurisdiction to implement such a ban. Seattle, Washington followed with a similar ban in 2020. Several states are currently looking at similar policies, most notably California and New York.
If you are a legislator, activist, expert, or journalist looking to help promote this policy in your state, check out (and share) our kit — and please get in touch!