In response to the introduction of legislation by Senator Al Franken that would protect federal, state, and local elections from foreign influence, People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker issued the following statement:
"President Obama was exactly right when he raised the threat of undue foreign influence in US elections following the Supreme Court's irresponsible decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The ruling gives corporations the right to spend unlimited sums of money to directly challenge or support candidates at every level of office. In doing so, the Court effectively opened up US elections to meddling by foreign governments and multinationals.
"Critics of the President point to existing laws banning contributions and electioneering by foreign nationals and corporations. But there are no restrictions on US subsidiaries of foreign corporations or on foreign-controlled US corporations. In other words, US politicians are now fair game for the world's wealthiest companies, including those run as business arms of foreign states. That is wrong, and we don't believe the American people will stand for it.
"The legislation introduced today by Senator Franken would do much to close the foreign electioneering loophole. Most importantly, it would prohibit electioneering by corporations which are controlled or highly influenced by foreign nationals. It would also mandate heightened disclosure of the level of foreign influence of corporations engaging in electioneering.
"The Franken bill is a crucial first step in cleaning up the mess made by the Supreme Court. We urge Senators to quickly adopt it."
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