STATEMENT: CAP’s Michael Sozan Praises Seattle Measure to Halt Foreign Influence in City Elections

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Seattle City Council passed cutting-edge democracy reform legislation to stop any further election-related spending by foreign-influenced U.S. corporations. The legislation uses foreign ownership thresholds that the Center for American Progress recommended in a recent report. In response, Michael Sozan, a senior fellow at CAP, issued the following statement:

Seattle just took a big step in stopping foreign influence in its city elections. Under Seattle’s legislation, major corporations that have appreciable levels of foreign ownership will no longer be permitted to spend huge sums of money to shape election results. The Center for American Progress looks forward to the Seattle mayor signing this bill into law and for Seattle to continue to lead the nation in pro-democracy structural reforms.

As a recent CAP report explains, the policy embodied in Seattle’s legislation is well-supported by corporate governance law and would survive a court challenge. Similar legislation is pending in multiple cities, states, and Congress. In 2017, St. Petersburg, Florida, became the first entity to pass a law to prevent political spending by foreign-influenced companies.

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