Paul Smith: H.R. 1 would fix - and protect - democracy in the U.S.
Campaign Legal Center's Paul Smith recently wrote an opinion piece for U.S. News: "As its first order of business in the new Congress, the House proposed a package of sweeping democracy reforms in H.R. 1: legislation that aims to limit money's influence over politics, strengthen ethics laws, protect voting rights, and end partisan gerrymandering. This important bill, which the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing about on Tuesday, would go a long way towards fixing U.S. democracy at home as well as prevent foreign actors from meddling in it from abroad.
Concern about foreign influence is not new, nor are congressional efforts to prevent it. In the last century, concern about Nazi propaganda efforts led to the passage of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). In 1976, Congress enacted laws barring foreign nationals from financially influencing U.S. elections. And at the turn of the 21st century, following an investigation into Chinese nationals funding the Democratic National Committee, Congress strengthened that prohibition and banned unregulated "soft money" that could mask foreign spending.
Recent elections have revealed new ways for foreign actors to interfere in our democracy – and offer compelling new reasons for Congress to act."