Foreign corporations can in fact influence American democracy in pernicious ways. For instance, how can Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries keep us dependent on fossil fuels? Well, thanks in part to theCitizens United decision, a new loophole allows foreign corporations to spend unlimited, undisclosed amounts on American elections.
Saudi-funded groups have run ads against Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat in Missouri, as well as insupport of Tommy Thompson, a Republican in Wisconsin. But in both cases, they’ve been able to conceal the spending behind a wall of secrecy, and under the banner of groups with “American” in the name.
Super PACs have to disclose their donors, so for a foreign corporation to spend big without ever revealing itself, a more practical vehicle to influence an election is something called a trade association, which can now operate as a PAC but without revealing a cent of its funding.
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