Last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., paired up with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and U.S. Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., on the “Protecting Ballot Measures from Foreign Influence Act.”
The bill “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” and “ensures that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) could not assert authority over those state or local ballot initiatives or ballot referendums.”
Rubio introduced the bill in the U.S. Senate with Warner as a co-sponsor.
“Foreign donors should not be able to influence America’s democratic process,” Rubio said. “It is already illegal for foreign nationals to donate to political candidates, parties, and committees. The Protecting Ballot Measures from Foreign Influence Act will extend that commonsense protection of our political process to ballot initiatives and other referendums. We must do everything we can to protect the votes of American citizens.”
“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,” Warner said. “There is no circumstance under which foreign entities should be able to sway the American democratic process and this legislation works to ensure that.”
“The FEC’s decision to let foreign actors directly influence U.S. policy fights undermines our democracy,” Banks said. “That’s why I’ve joined Sens. Rubio and Warner and Rep. Spanberger to overturn it and ensure Americans’ voices are heard.”
“American elections should remain American elections. Local and state ballot initiatives here in the United States should be focused on the concerns of a community — not the interests of a foreign individual, company, or nation,” Spanberger said. “The current loophole that allows foreign entities to influence these initiatives should be closed immediately, and I am proud to work with a bipartisan group of legislators in both the Senate and the House to make that happen. The Protecting Ballot Measures from Foreign Influence Act would reassert the American people’s rightful control of their local ballot measures, and I am proud to work with Senator Warner, Senator Rubio, and Congressman Banks on this critical effort.”
Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee.