Pew Charitable Trusts: Lawmakers Look to Curb Foreign Influence in State Elections (In the News)

Pew Charitable Trusts: Lawmakers Look to Curb Foreign Influence in State Elections

By Rebecca Beitsch

The high court ruled that corporations and unions are associations of U.S. citizens with a First Amendment right to political expression.

Hoping to take the decision a step further, proponents of bills under consideration in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Washington state would bar political spending by businesses in which non-U.S. citizens have a significant ownership stake…

But critics say having some foreign ties – especially minimal ones – should not disqualify corporations from participating in the political process.

“Corporations have a right to speak about politics. It’s a strange calculus that says we’re going to sacrifice the rights of the 95 percent American ownership for the 5 percent foreign ownership,” said Allen Dickerson with the Center for Competitive Politics, a First Amendment group that supports the Citizens United decision…

“How much of this is an attempt to prevent indirectly what we can’t do directly, which is prevent businesses from speaking? I understand there are people who don’t like Citizens United, but it’s the law,” Dickerson said.