Latest News 18-04-2024 00:02 5 Views

GOP bill cracks down on ‘loophole’ allowing foreign donors to pump dark money into US elections

Senate Republicans are introducing a bill on Wednesday that aims to prevent foreign nationals from improperly influencing American elections in response to a report outlining how a foreign billionaire allegedly funneled almost $250 million into a liberal dark money network that poured almost $100 million into nationwide ballot campaigns.

The Prevent Foreign Interference in American Elections Act, being introduced by Tennessee GOP Sen. Bill Hagerty, states that it will 'amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to further restrict contributions of foreign nationals.'

The move comes after the Senate was briefed on a new report from Americans for Public Trust that shows Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has sent more than $243 million to the Sixteen Thirty Fund which then invested $97.6 million in ballot campaigns across 25 states over the past decade. Those states included the key swing states of Michigan, Ohio, Colorado, and Nevada.

The tens of millions of dollars from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which has also been funded by George Soros, went into ballot measures promoting abortion access, lessening drug penalties and prison sentences, raising the minimum wage, automatic voter registration and other progressive causes.

Wyss, who is referred to by some as the 'new George Soros', also allegedly gave more than $135 million between 2016 and 2020 to a nonprofit that gave tens of millions to Super PACs that supported Joe Biden in 2020 and has steered tens of millions of dollars to Democratic fundraising committees, get out the vote efforts, and Democratic candidates via nonprofits. 

'A single Swiss billionaire, Hansjörg Wyss, has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into various left-wing causes meant to influence American politics,' Honest Elections Project Executive Director Jason Snead told Fox News Digital last year. 'Since 2016 he has given at least $245 million to Arabella Advisors’ dark money behemoths New Venture Fund and Sixteen Thirty Fund. In 2020 alone, CTCL (Center for Tech and Civic Life) received $25 million from New Venture Fund. CTCL and its new Alliance are opening avenues for foreign billionaires to pump funds directly into the heart of US elections.'

Caitlin Sutherland, who told Fox News Digital last year that Wyss is the 'most influential figure in politics that you've never heard of', wrote in the report’s forward that Sixteen Thirty Fund is using Wyss’s money as part of its 'war chest' to 'support massive get out the vote drives, issue advocacy campaigns bolstering President Biden’s agenda, liberal pet projects from abortion to immigration, and attack ads against Republican lawmakers.'

Hagerty’s bill would clarify that the existing foreign-national ban on 'indirect' contributions covers attempts to circumvent the ban through intermediaries or instructions which conservatives have long argued poses a threat to Democracy when funds are dumped into dark money groups inside the U.S. from abroad.

'Foreign nationals are prohibited from donating to U.S. political candidates, committees and super PACs but there is no federal law prohibiting foreign nationals from donating to ballot committees,' the report's conclusion explains. 'Some state laws exist to try to prevent this type of foreign influence, but in a majority of states, foreign nationals like Hansjorg Wyss, are allowed to write blank checks to fund ballot issues that could prioritize their interests over those of the residents of the state.'

'If state and federal law permits a Swiss billiionaire to fund ballot initiative campaigns, there is nothing stopping U.S. adversaries from Communist China, Russia, or North Korea from doing the same.' 

The bill would prohibit foreign nationals from funding ballot harvesting and GOTV efforts, prohibit foreign nationals from funding U.S. election administration, and prohibit foreign nationals from spending money to influence ballot measures.

'After years of hysteria over Russiagate and alleged foreign influence in American elections, it turns out Democrats have recently benefited from hundreds of millions of dollars in election-related contributions from a shadowy foreign billionaire, sidestepping the federal ban on foreign-national contributions in U.S. elections,' Hagerty said in a statement to Fox News Digital. 

'This type of influence undermines democracy and self-government here in America, and its staggering scope should be alarming. I’m pleased to introduce this commonsense and critical legislation that will put an end to covert foreign influence on our elections and protect Americans’ voice in electing their leaders.'

 In a statement, Sutherland said that 'it is irresponsible and alarming that our laws leave the door open to foreign nationals and U.S. adversaries influencing American politics.'

'Our report reveals that Sixteen Thirty Fund alone is acting as a conduit for massive amounts of money from a foreign billionaire with an expressed desire to reshape U.S. politics to align with his out-of-touch worldview. After years of national discourse about fears of foreign influence in our elections, this commonsense proposal to close the foreign influence loophole should be something everyone can support.'

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Sixteen Thirty Fund President Amy Kurtz said, 'APT is Leonard Leo's attack machine and is targeting Sixteen Thirty Fund because they oppose our work to support progressive causes.'

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