Rep. Gosar Introduces Bill Protecting U.S. Elections From Illegal Foreign Donations
February 11, 2007 | Wikimedia Commons
Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced a bill Friday that closes certain loopholes in order to protect U.S. elections by preventing campaign donations from foreign nationals, a practice which has surprisingly been banned since 1966. The rules in place meant to enforce this ban are weak and have proven to be ineffective in protecting our elections from foreign money and influence.
The Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act, H.R. 1341, has 25 bipartisan cosponsors including Representatives Mark Amodei, Brian Babin, Don Bacon, Lou Barletta, Dave Brat, Mo Brooks, Julia Brownley, Kenneth Buck, Michael Capuano, Barbara Comstock, Jim Cooper, Peter DeFazio, Jeff Duncan, John Duncan, Louie Gohmert, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, Walter Jones, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Dan Newhouse, Stevan Pearce, Peter Roskam, Kyrsten Sinema, Randy Weber, Ted Yoho.
Gosar released this statement after introducing the bill Friday:
In recent years, our federal election laws have garnered much debate from across the ideological spectrum. One part of the campaign finance issue that has become commonplace in the 21st century is the receipt of campaign contributions paid by credit cards online. Current disclosure requirements for online donations make it easy for bad actors to violate federal contribution limits, or worse, for foreign money to influence U.S. elections. As technology advances, we must continue to stay ahead of the curve in thwarting those who wish to inappropriately influence our political processes. Full disclosure of online contributions will ensure that the American people know the sources of campaign money and will greatly assist with maintaining a system of free and fair elections.
According to Gosar.gov, the bipartisan Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act would prohibit foreign nationals from cheating the system and would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the disclosure of the credit verification value (CVV) and billing address for all online contributions. Foreign campaign donations to U.S. elections have been banned under federal law since 1966.
A six-month investigation conducted by the Government Accountability Institute found the current online donation system to be extremely vulnerable to bad actors attempting to violate federal contribution limits. During the 2012 campaign cycle, hundreds of millions of dollars flowed to presidential candidates from undisclosed donations. The report also found that “of the 446 House and Senate members who have an online donation page, 47.3% do not require the three or four digit credit card security number (officially called the Card Verification Value, or the CVV) for internet contributions.”
Among other things, the report recommended Congress adopt the three main provisions found in Congressman Gosar’s bill stating: “To correct this, several low-cost, easy-to-implement reforms should be put in place:
•Immediately require campaigns to use industry-standard anti-fraud security technologies including, but not limited to, the Card Verification Value (CVV) and a rigorous Address Verification System (AVS).
•Immediately require all campaigns to retain and disclose identifying information on all online campaign contributions, including those falling under the $200 nondisclosure threshold currently allowed under federal law.
•The Federal Election Commission (FEC) should enforce existing law concerning the solicitation and acceptance of foreign contributions to U.S. federal campaigns.
It’s not surprising this bill has bipartisan support considering it takes aim at corrupt campaign financing on both sides of the aisle.
Prior to the 2016 election, the Clinton Foundation raised at least $42 million from foreign governments – and according to an analysis by CBS News – at least $170 million from foreign entities and individuals.
Campaign finance laws do prohibit foreign interests from investing in U.S. elections to prevent foreigners from buying political influence at home, but it has become glaringly, unmistakebly evident that these laws don’t apply to The Clinton Foundation. Bill Allison, senior policy analyst at the Sunlight Foundation, a campaign finance watchdog group, says the Clinton foundation is a unique non-profit that can’t be separated from the US political system.
“If there is foreign money coming into the Clinton Foundation, it will raise the question of – is the president going to be doing favors for a foreign business, a foreign government, a foreign individual? And you just cannot have that in the American system of government, where the president is supposed to represent the American people,” Allison said
Let’s not forget Barack Hussein Obama, to which the FEC levied one of its largest fines ever, as evidenced by the April/2012 FEC audit report.
On the GOP side, it wasn’t too long ago that Senator McCain (R-AZ) requested campaign donations from Russian officials. Several Wikileaks documents released in February show McCain’s request for donations from the Russians. McCain supporters said the Russians were responding to a routine mailer from his 2008 campaign. Here is a link to the letter from the Russian mission on the fundraising attempt from John McCain.
The full text of H.R. 1341 is HERE.