Foreign money pouring into Congressional redistricting battles?
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has determined that foreign contributors may fund any referendum campaigns in the U.S., opening the door (further) to foreign expenditure on high-profile policy matters.
News outlet Axios reported the story first on Tuesday.
Foreign nationals are still barred from giving to political campaigns or groups in the United States.
Among the alarm bells set off by the ruling is that foreigners will now be able to shift the needle on redistricting, which is frequently contentious and consequential.
Although the FEC’s decision didn’t explicitly address that issue, it appeared to open the door to it, and the matter will almost certainly be fought in future disputes before the commission.
“Are we, as U.S. citizens, really OK with letting foreign money go directly to state lawmaking via citizen initiative campaigns?” said David Brooks of Montana Trout Unlimited, one of the complainants in the case that led to the FEC ruling.
According to Axios, the ruling only applies to federal law.
Currently, seven states expressly prohibit financial influence of the kind that the FEC ruling now allows on a federal level.
Maine Democrat Governor Janet Mills, recently rejected legislation banning foreign ballot measure funding in Maine, which was proposed to prevent a Canadian-owned power firm from financially influencing a ballot initiative regarding additional energy transmission lines.