Front Page Magazine and the David Horowitz Freedom Center have been following the impact of Hansjorg Wyss, a Swiss citizen and a leftist megadonor, on American politics for quite a while. Earlier this year we tracked his reach even to West Virginia.
While foreigners can’t directly donate to candidates, they can donate to 501(c)(4)s and considering the impact that they have on elections, that amounts to much the same thing.
Now some members of Congress are talking about closing the foreign C4 loophole.
Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) chair of the House Administration Committee, is introducing legislation to ban such groups from contributing to political committees for four years if they accept foreign donations. He also wants to bar foreign nationals from giving to state ballot initiatives.
“American elections are for American citizens,” Steil told Axios, ahead of a hearing his committee is holding in Atlanta today on election integrity. “Yet foreign nationals still find ways to influence American elections.”
“The American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act will close loopholes that foreign nationals are exploiting to funnel money to super PACs or ballot initiatives,” he said.
While the immediate issue is Wyss, foreign donors from a variety of countries can influence our politics that way.
Conservative groups are zeroing in on Wyss as a poster child for how wealthy foreign billionaires can influence U.S. elections, alleging that he has pumped $475 million into the U.S. political system.
They can and they have.
At this point even 501(c)(3)s are closely involved in U.S. politics, never mind C4s. Your average major lefty nonprofit has a C3, for tax-exempt funds, and a C4, for more direct political involvement, and may have a PAC too. Money goes in the different ends and all of it ends up influencing politics. Some states are stepping forward to block foreign money on a statewide level. West Virginia is one such example. But a federal ban is important because some lefty states won’t do it on their own.