Olympia – Sen. Andy Billig’s, D-Spokane, Senate Bill 5570 that would prevent foreign-owned companies from contributing to political campaigns in Washington state will receive a public hearing in the Senate State Government Committee on Feb. 8 at 8 a.m.

“We have an obligation to keep Washington’s elections free, fair and in accordance with federal law,” said Billig. “As American citizens, our First Amendment rights grant us the freedom to participate in elections. That right is not afforded to foreign nationals or corporations with foreign owners. ”

Under federal law, foreign nationals are forbidden from directly making political contributions or financing campaign activities whether acting as individuals or as a corporation.

SB 5570 requires that corporations donating to campaigns in Washington state declare whether their ownership is comprised of less than 50 percent foreign nationals.

“The threat of foreign influence on American elections became all too real this past election cycle. This should be of tremendous concern to every American, regardless of party,” said Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub of the Federal Election Commission, who has long advocated for better enforcement and clarification of federal law prohibiting foreign spending in U.S. elections. “Sen. Billig’s bill is an innovative and commendable step that will help prevent foreign influence from seeping into Washington’s elections through corporations.”

Weintraub is travelling all the way from Washington D.C. to testify in support of the legislation at the public hearing.

“Transparent elections are the foundation of a healthy democracy,” added Billig. “That foundation is eroded when big money is spent without disclosure, especially if that funding originates overseas. That isn’t right and it must be stopped.”