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Rubio, Warner Reintroduce Bill to Curb Foreign Influence in Elections

May 17, 2023 | Press Releases

Additional safeguards for state and local elections from foreign interference are needed, and making it illegal for foreign donors to contribute to any ballot initiative or referendum provides a bipartisan solution. 

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Warner (D-VA) reintroduced the Protecting Ballot Measures from Foreign Influence Act, which would make it unlawful for a foreign national to contribute money, either directly or indirectly, to a State or local ballot initiative or ballot referendum. Notably, the bill ensures that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) cannot assert authority over those State or local ballot initiatives or referendums.

  • “Foreign donors should not be able to influence our nation’s democratic process. It is already illegal for foreign nationals to donate to political candidates, parties, and committees. This bipartisan and bicameral bill would extend that commonsense protection to ballot initiatives and other referendums. We must do everything we can to protect every single legal vote of American citizens.” – Senator Rubio
  • “There is no circumstance under which foreign entities should be able to sway the American democratic process. The Protecting Ballot Measures from Foreign Influence Act further safeguards our elections from foreign interference by making it illegal for foreign donors to contribute to any ballot initiative or referendum.” – Senator Warner

Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN) and Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

  • “This bipartisan bill closes a loophole in US election law that allows foreign nationals to financially contribute to state and local ballot measures. American elections are for American citizens, and Congress has a responsibility to safeguard our elections from foreign influence.”– Congressman Banks
  • “Only the American people should have a say in American elections. Yet foreign individuals, companies, and nation states are actively working to influence local and state ballot initiatives — thereby undermining our democracy. I’m proud to once again work with a bipartisan group of legislators to close loopholes in our system that these foreign actors look to exploit. Our legislation would reassert the America’s people’s full control of local ballot measures.”– Congresswoman Spanberger

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