Common Cause Urges FEC to Release Report to Congress on Efforts to Keep Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections

Today, Common Cause urged that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to release a report that was requested by Congress regarding the Commission’s role in enforcing prohibitions on foreign campaign contributions and expenditures. The report was due to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees yesterday in accordance with explanatory statements accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018.

“Americans deserve to know what is being done by the FEC to safeguard our elections from foreign attacks and influence,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “Hostile foreign states have made very clear that they will go to any length to undermine our democracy by tipping the scales in favor of their preferred candidates. The FEC’s ongoing refusal to address disclosure of the hundreds of millions of secret spending in our elections has left our campaign finance system an easy target for our foreign adversaries. While we hope that the FEC has taken steps to address the vulnerabilities in the system, the agency’s track record in recent years offers little reassurance. Americans must be shown the report demanded by Congress because they have a right to know how their government is addressing this issue.”

The letter notes the specific explanatory statement language from the Appropriations Act tasking the FEC with producing its report on its work to enforce the prohibition on foreign campaign contributions and expenditures:

Preserving the integrity of elections, and protecting them from undue foreign influence, is an important function of government at all levels. Federal law, for example, prohibits foreign campaign contributions and expenditures. With that in mind, the Chairman is directed to report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House and Senate no later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act on the Commission’s role in enforcing this prohibition, including how it identifies foreign contributions to elections, and what it plans to do in the future to continue these efforts.

President Trump signed the Act into law on March 23, 2018 and yesterday marked the 180-day deadline for delivering the report to Congress.

To read the letter, click here.