This video above comes from Meredith McGehee, Policy Director at The Campaign Legal Center. She explains how donations from foreigners could be making their way to our election. It’s illegal but thanks to the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court … there are now loopholes allowing non-Americans or even sovereign countries to be able to influence our elections.
#1 – Any corporation based in the U.S. can invest unlimited sums into the election process. That’s ANY corporation even if there is a 100% owned stake by non-Americans or 20% stake … it doesn’t matter.
#2 – In order to hide their behavior and maintain transparency – these corporations can use trade associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to invest hundreds of millions or even billions into the political process. Ads would come from the Chamber of Commerce as an example but the real money would be coming from the foreign owned corporation. In order to hide their dubious behavior – insurance companies invested over $100 million to stop Obamacare by using the Chamber of Commerce as an example. The Chamber of Commerce is not required to disclose who gave money to whom and for what.
#3 – Foreigners are allowed to “donate” to groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS because it is listed as a non-profit 501(c)(3) . Any money given to this group is not only completely lacking in transparency since 501(c)(3) organizations do not have to disclose their donors … the donors can claim huge tax deductions since it is listed as a non-profit.
And Karl Rove’s group is spending $8.1 million in 11 contests for congressional district (source); the money being used in Congressional races is even worse than in the Presidential election because unlike President Obama who has a big stage and the ability to raise lots of money … the advertising spent on unknown congressional candidates can really have an impact.
Mother Jones explains a scenario that could be happening HERE:
Say a Chinese businessman wants to funnel $10 million to a nonprofit that runs anti-Obama ads. For a few hundred dollars, that donor—or his attorney—can create a Delaware shell corporation that can funnel the $10 million to the nonprofit. And when the nonprofit discloses its donors to the IRS (as the law requires), all the taxman sees on the donor line is the shell corporation. Owens says it’s not IRS policy to figure out who’s behind a particular shell corporation. What’s more, the IRS’ audit rate for tax-exempt nonprofits is less than 1 percent. “There are a lot of ways that IRS filings can avoid disclosure of the actual source of funds,” he says.
Complicated as it may sound, the use of shell corporations isn’t so implausible. Last year, Edward Conard, a former partner and colleague of Mitt Romney’s at Bain Capital, used a newly created shell corporation called W Spann LLC to anonymously funnel $1 million to the pro-Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future. Satirist Stephen Colbert lampooned this shell game by creating an anonymous shell corporation called “Anonymous Shell Corporation” for the purpose of shoveling dark money to his super-PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.
If a sovereign country like China has control over a company (as they do with many companies) and that company is allowed to set up shop in America … then China would be able to influence American politics by using loopholes. Money is fungible. This is the case with many countries. Israel can lobby American elected official legally through their use of AIPAC.
All of this not to mention really wealthy plutocrats with interests in foreign countries who lobby for laws that benefit them and their international profits at the expense of American workers. If someone has a bunch of sweatshops in the Philippines or a Casino in Macau … when they lobby for special tax treatment … they lobby for tax breaks and reduction in regulations that will save them lots of money at the expense of Americans.
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