Levin, Rouda, Allred Introduce Bill to End Foreign Election Interference Through American Shell Companies
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Andy Levin (MI-09), Harley Rouda (CA-48), and Colin Allred (TX-32) introduced legislation to criminalize the concealment of foreign spending in U.S. elections through American shell companies. The Shell Company Abuse Act makes it a felony to use or create an American shell company as a vector for illegal political spending by foreign nationals.
“Free, fair, and transparent elections are the bedrock of American democracy,” said Rep. Levin. “It is imperative that we maintain the integrity of our elections by closing any loophole that allows foreign interference. The Shell Company Abuse Act safeguards our electoral process by prohibiting foreign nationals from funneling money through shell companies to engage in political activity in America.”
“In his 2018 testimony to Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed a loophole which could allow foreign nationals to purchase political advertisements using American shell corporations," said Rep. Rouda. "This bill makes clear that those who use shell companies to undermine our free and fair elections by concealing illegal political spending will pay a steep price. It is past time to close this loophole that jeopardizes the sanctity of our elections."
“American elections should be decided and influenced only by Americans,” said Rep. Allred. “In 2018 foreign money made its way into my election to fund nasty and false attacks which is why North Texans know first-hand that we need to take action and strengthen our campaign finance laws. This bill does just that by making it a crime for foreign-owned shell companies to conceal illegal political spending.”
In 2019, the House passed an amendment to the SHIELD Act authored by Reps. Levin 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.