Levin Amendment to Crack Down on Foreign Influence in Elections Passes House

October 23, 2019
Press Release
The amendment to the SHIELD Act would prohibit foreign nationals from funneling money through shell companies to engage in American political activity.

The House of Representatives today passed a provision authored by Reps. Andy Levin (D-MI-09) and Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) that would impose criminal penalties on those who use or help set up shell companies to hide political activity by foreign nationals. Rep. Levin is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Rep. McCaul is the committee’s ranking member.

“In our effort to secure American elections from foreign interference, we have to close every loophole,” said. Rep. Levin. “This bipartisan amendment will prohibit foreign nationals from funneling money through shell companies to engage in political activity in America. This is a responsible, necessary step we must take to keep our democratic process safe from bad foreign actors and strengthen the integrity of American elections.”

“From his first day in office, Rep. Levin has been committed to protecting our democracy from foreign interference and ensuring his constituents will have their voices heard in our elections,” said Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United Action Fund. “By prohibiting foreign nationals from setting up shell companies to spend money in our political system, Rep. Levin’s bipartisan amendment will ensure American elections are decided by Americans.”

Current campaign finance laws already prohibit foreign nationals from making campaign contributions or conducting political activity. However, a gaping loophole exists. There there is no law preventing foreign nationals or their domestic partners from setting up a shell company to hide illegal political activity.

Levin’s amendment would close this loophole by making it a felony for an owner, officer, attorney, or incorporated agent to establish or use the corporation, company, or other entity with the intent to conceal an activity of a foreign national.

The amendment was included as part of the Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy (SHIELD) Act, a bill of strong, commonsense and bipartisan solutions to fight foreign interference in our elections.

Cosponsors of the bill also include Reps. Harley Rouda (CA-48), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) and Jackie Speier (CA-14).