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Friday, August 20, 2021

Foreign Influence in the 2020 Election

Anna Massoglia at Open Secrets:
More than $33.5 million in individual political contributions came from foreign agents and lobbyists during the 2020 election, a new OpenSecrets analysis found.

Foreign nationals are prohibited by federal law from making contributions to political groups or campaigns to influence U.S. elections. But foreign nationals can hire foreign agents or lobbyists to advocate for their interests in the U.S. and lobbyists who are U.S. citizens are able to make political contributions, even to the same lawmakers they may be lobbying on behalf of foreign clients.

Foreign agents registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act during the 2020 election cycle made at least $8.5 million in political contributions. Another $25 million in 2020 political contributions came from lobbyists representing foreign clients, including U.S. subsidiaries owned or controlled by foreign parent companies, registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

That includes all of foreign agents’ 2020 individual contributions to federal-level campaigns as well as outside groups like political action committees and super PACs that are registered with the FEC. PACs affiliated with firms of registered foreign agents contributed even more.