A Bill Moyers piece by Kathy Kiely on the ease with which foreign money can be spent on American campaigns through a practice that would be stopped by HR4177. See the full story here. The following are excerpts:
2. Credit cards
Another potential avenue for illegal foreign contributions is credit cards, warned John Pudner, a former Republican political consultant who now heads a campaign finance reform group called Take Back Our Republic. A decision by some campaigns — especially those who rely heavily on small donations, as President Barack Obama did — to dismantle zip-code verification on their credit-card contributions has what Pudner diplomatically said is an “unintended consequence” of opening the door to illegal foreign donors.
“If I were an unscrupulous political consultant and didn’t care about [the] law, I’d set up a room full of people, retype over and over the credit card number, $200 a pop,” said Pudner, citing a number that’s below the level at which the FEC requires names and addresses of donors. “It’s very affordable, it’s never detectable. . . that avenue is there and so easy.”
3. Stock, mergers, acquisitions and inversions
But, Pudner and other panelists noted, really big foreign players don’t have to skirt US law. They can just buy a US company.