Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 4177, the Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act, a bill that closes certain loopholes in order to prevent the campaign donations of foreign nationals from influencing American elections, a practice which has been banned since 1966:
“Current disclosure requirements for online donations make it relatively easy for foreign money to influence U.S. elections, despite being banned since 1966. Shockingly, the Government Accountability Institute has reported that the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns received questionable contributions of more than $500 million as a result of poor disclosure requirements. This abuse is not limited to Obama’s two presidential campaigns as candidates on both sides of the aisle have benefitted and possibly been swayed as a result of current loopholes. It would be a bipartisan abdication of our American sovereignty to continue to allow our election system to be impacted by foreigners circumventing U.S. law.
“By increasing disclosure requirements for online donations, we can greatly hinder the ability for people that aren’t U.S. citizens to unlawfully funnel money to politicians through campaign contributions, and in turn make the process more open to the American people. Fair and transparent elections are at the core of our Republic and Congressional oversight is required to ensure transparency and integrity. This bipartisan bill is a positive step in the right direction and will greatly assist with reining in this abuse.”
The full text of H.R. 4177 can be found HERE.
The bipartisan Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act would prohibit foreign nationals from cheating the system and would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the disclosure of the credit verification value (CVV) and billing address for all online contributions. Foreign campaign donations to U.S. elections have been banned under federal law since 1966.
A six-month investigation conducted by the Government Accountability Institute found the current online donation system to be extremely vulnerable to bad actors attempting to violate federal contribution limits. During the 2012 campaign cycle, hundreds of millions of dollars flowed to presidential candidates from undisclosed donations. The report also found that “of the 446 House and Senate members who have an online donation page, 47.3% do not require the three or four digit credit card security number (officially called the Card Verification Value, or the CVV) for internet contributions.”
Among other things, the report recommended Congress adopt the three main provisions found in Congressman Gosar’s bill stating:
“To correct this, several low-cost, easy-to-implement reforms should be put in place:
-Immediately require campaigns to use industry-standard anti-fraud security technologies including, but not limited to, the Card Verification Value (CVV) and a rigorous Address Verification System (AVS).
-Immediately require all campaigns to retain and disclose identifying information on all online campaign contributions, including those falling under the $200 nondisclosure threshold currently allowed under federal law.
-The Federal Election Commission (FEC) should enforce existing law concerning the solicitation and acceptance of foreign contributions to U.S. federal campaigns.”
23 bipartisan cosponsors joined Congressman Gosar in introducing H.R. 4177 including: Representatives Mark Amodei, Brian Babin, Dave Brat, Ken Buck, Scott DesJarlais, Jeff Duncan, John Duncan, Mike Fitzpatrick, Trent Franks, Tulsi Gabbard, Louie Gohmert, Walter B. Jones, Ann Kirkpatrick, Doug LaMalfa, Luke Messer, Steve Pearce, Bill Posey, Scott Rigell, David Rouzer, Matt Salmon, Pete Sessions,Marlin Stutzman and Joe Wilson.