Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Campaign Contributions and Independent Expenditures by Foreign Nationals


Today, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily affirmed a ruling by a three-judge district court in Bluman v. Federal Election Commission which had upheld the federal ban on campaign contributions and independent expenditures by foreign nationals temporarily residing in the United States. 

“We are pleased by the decision from the Supreme Court to affirm the lower court ruling and its recognition that certain restrictions on even independent expenditures are constitutional in federal and state elections,” Tara Malloy, Legal Center Associate Counsel, stated. 

“But there seems to be a serious doctrinal inconsistency between Bluman and the Supreme Court’s earlier decision in Citizens United.   In Citizens United, the narrow, 5-4 majority expressed the extremely naïve view that independent expenditures were essentially harmless and could not corrupt or even lead to the appearance of corruption of our elections.  Yet today, the Court took a step back from that decision and upheld a much broader ban on both contributions and expenditures by foreign nationals.” 

“The staggering sums being raised and spent ‘independently’ by close family, friends and associates of the candidates in Iowa and other early primary and caucus states make a mockery of the Court’s assumption in Citizens Untied ruling that independent expenditures have no influence over candidates and officeholders.  Perhaps today’s order from the Court is some indication that the Court is aware its Citizens United ruling has unleashed unprecedented flood of undisclosed money into our body politic and perverted our elections.”