Last week, the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision invalidated a sixty-three year-old ban on corporate money in federal elections. The ruling gives corporations essentially the same rights as individuals in their ability to spend freely on political advertising, even if those advertisements explicitly advocate the election or defeat of a federal candidate. One consequence of this decision is that foreign corporations with U.S.-subsidiaries are likely to be able to now spend unlimited amounts on American elections.
Congressional Democrats, led by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), are drafting legislation to curb the influence of foreign corporations and foreign governments following the decision. However, the National Journal reported today that corporate lobbyists representing foreign corporations are already organizing to defeat such a proposal. The Organization for International Investment, a trade group representing foreign banks, oil companies, and other foreign corporations operating in the United States, "lashed out" at Van Hollen's proposals. "The concern over foreign influence in our political system is a red herring," said Nancy McLernon, the head of OII.