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Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP Praises San Jose Legislation To Curb Foreign Influence in City Elections
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP Praises San Jose Legislation To Curb Foreign Influence in City Elections

Washington, D.C. — Today, in a win for democracy, the San Jose, California, mayor and city council unanimously gave final approval for a groundbreaking measure to stop political spending by foreign-influenced U.S. corporations, including direct and indirect donations to political action committees, candidates, and dark money organizations. The Center for American Progress has supported this policy and provided testimony in support of the San Jose legislation.

This new law will close a dangerous loophole opened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and will reduce foreign influence in San Jose’s elections. The measure specifically prohibits political spending by American companies that have appreciable foreign ownership—when a single foreign investor owns at least 1 percent of the company or when multiple foreign investors own 5 percent or more of the company. Last year, Minnesota became the first state in the nation to pass this policy into law, Seattle signed it into law in 2020, and similar legislation is being advanced in multiple states and Congress.

In response, Michael Sozan, senior fellow at CAP, issued the following statement:

At a time when democracy is increasingly under attack, the San Jose City Council and mayor took a giant step toward strengthening free and fair elections and protecting local self-government. This law will stop foreign-influenced U.S. corporations from unfairly swaying San Jose’s elections. That will strengthen the city’s ability to chart a future driven by the needs of its residents—not outside corporations—while building trust in government.

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For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected].

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