New Law Would End Dark Money “Loophole” For Elections

House Republicans are in the process of developing legislation aimed at closing a loophole that has allowed foreign funds to influence U.S. elections. 

This action comes as reports surface about a Swiss billionaire, Hansjörg Wyss, evading restrictions on foreign donations to support Democrats financially.

Representative Bryan Steil, who chairs the House Administration Committee, will introduce the proposed legislation known as the American Confidence in Elections Act

The bill prohibits 501(c)(4) organizations from contributing to political committees for four years if they accept foreign funding.

By addressing this issue, the legislation aims to eliminate the exploitation of the loophole whereby foreign donors channel money to 501(c)(4) organizations, which then contribute to super PACs, thus circumventing the ban on foreign nationals making contributions to super PACs.

In a statement to Axios, Steil emphasized that the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act would effectively close these loopholes that foreign individuals have exploited to funnel money into super PACs or influence ballot initiatives.

The proposed legislation comes in response to an April report revealing that Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss had been evading restrictions on foreign political donations by providing tens of millions of dollars to a network of nonprofits that support Democratic causes.

In 2021, Wyss donated $72 million to the Berger Action Fund, which funnels funds to nonprofits not required by law to disclose their donors or expenditures. 

By making donations to this fund, Wyss manages to bypass the bans on foreign financial involvement in political matters.

The Berger Action Fund, established by Wyss in 2007, has contributed $339 million to left-leaning groups since 2016, as reported by the Associated Press. 

Representatives of Wyss assert that these substantial donations primarily serve the purpose of “issue advocacy,” focusing on areas such as environmental concerns rather than partisan interests.

Caitlin Sutherland, the executive director of Americans for Public Trust, has expressed the urgent need to examine Wyss’s contributions thoroughly.

According to Sutherland, extensive funding has been utilized to promote President Biden’s progressive agenda and support liberal candidates. 

Despite being prohibited from directly contributing to candidates, Wyss deceptively distributes his donations through a network called Arabella Advisors, which shapes policy and influences the American political system.