Press Release

Gillibrand Introduces Bill To Ban Foreign Nationals From Funding Ballot Initiatives And Influencing American Democracy

Nov 3, 2021

Today, Senator Gillibrand introduced the Stop Foreign Interference in Ballot Measures Act, which would prohibit foreign nationals from donating money to fund ballot initiatives and referendums. Gillibrand introduced the bill following a ruling from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) deciding that foreign donors can fund U.S. ballot measure campaigns, which would enable foreign spending on far-reaching policy issues. 

While federal election law already prohibits foreign nationals from donating to political candidates and committees for federal, state and local elections, Gillibrand’s bill would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to prohibit contributions and donations by foreign nationals for “a State or local ballot initiative or referendum.”

“It is absolutely chilling that foreign nationals can fund ballot initiatives, giving them significant influence on our laws and democracy. This loophole is frankly dangerous and must be closed swiftly,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Stop Foreign Interference in Ballot Measures Act would ban foreign donations for ballot measures, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get it done.”

Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) previously introduced the House version of the bill, which has been endorsed by Public Citizen, Common Cause and Take Back Our Republic.