Do you realize that we already have foreign influence in our government? People are really interested in that Russia rumor going around our President, whom I prefer not to write about and will not. I just thought you would like to know it’s not internet trolls you should be worried about.
What should concern you is that because corporations have personhood, that allows foreign powers to have backdoor access to U.S. politics. So it’s not just Russia you should be worried about. Literally any US corporation that is a part of a multinational conglomerate can filter foreign money to a campaign or super PAC and other groups.
Most people are oblivious to how conglomerates work. A conglomerate is the combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses that fall under one corporate group, usually involving a parent company and many subsidiaries. Often, a conglomerate is multi-industry and multinational.
While it’s technically not legal for any foreign entity to donate to any American political campaign, their American corporations can form PACs (Political Action Committees). This way their employees can “donate” to campaigns so everything looks legit. However, it is speculated that they also use this as a backdoor into funding US elections.
The biggest backdoor is called a super PAC, which I will cover in my next article. A super PAC can solicit any amount of money from a corporation, union or individual it wants to as long as the money is not spent on or coordinated with any individual campaign.
This was blatantly used in the 2016 election. Prior to Citizens United, all federal election money could be traced back to an individual who expended it or contributed to a political committee. Once you enable artificial entities to contribute, money is no longer traceable back to identifiable individuals. This is because corporations as well as unions were given 1st Amendment rights and are loosely covered under the guise of independent expenditures. This makes the money sources harder to pin down, which makes it much easier for foreign money to flow into the political campaign system. This is believed to be the biggest way foreign influence is getting involved in US politics.
A second way they are getting around US laws is through lobbyists. The donations come from foreign governments’ US-based lobbyists, effectively circumventing American laws designed to bar direct foreign donations. Because the people representing the interests of these foreign entities are US citizens, they face no such contribution ban.
In 2016 these lobbyists donated $4.5 million to federal lawmakers and candidates, as well as another $5.9 million to candidates and party committees through an influence-enhancing tactic called bundling. While they donate less than super PACs, it’s still money to influence the political landscape. Going back to my previous article though, this tactic is being less used because of bill mills like ALEC, which is a newer tool that eliminates the lobbyist middlemen. I believe that is why the donation numbers are so low compared to super PACs.
Yet another way in is through buying up the national debt. Right now we owe about $21 trillion. As of 2016 China owns 7% of the debt. In total, foreign nations own 32.5%. The top holder by far is US citizens and American entities, such as state and local governments, pension funds, mutual funds, and the Federal Reserve. Together they own the vast majority—67.5%—of the debt.
However, 32% is a lot of pressure. Even at 7% China has leverage on our politics, especially foreign trade. I was unable to find the percentage of debt owed in 2017 but it’s probably in the same ballpark or close to it. However, if you hear someone say China owns all of our debt, it’s not true and I hope you call people out on that piece of propaganda.
The idea that Russia single-handedly decided the outcome of our presidential election is ridiculous. There is a ton more at play, and more players on the field than you might think. Some of them have given money to both sides of the aisle leading up to the election.
I encourage you to have a look on https://www.opensecrets.org to see for yourself the spider web of information that is available on traceable funding. It’s really interesting. It’s yet another site that can take hours to navigate, but is worth your time if you want to see how things work through loopholes and backdoors. Also, if you search hard enough, there are tons of articles on the internet for you to take gander at.
Be sure to stay tuned in to my next few articles. I will be discussing Super PACs and political strategy groups.
“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” – Aldous Huxley