Politico points out the potential for foreign companies to participate in lobbying and elections in the US.
On its face, the 5-4 ruling appears to permit the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies to take out or support ads for or against candidates, just as other U.S. corporations may now do.
In other words, even if Sony Corp. in Japan couldn’t spend money directly for or against a candidate, the electronics company’s American-based subsidiaries could. And that’s got some conservatives upset, fearful of the influence of foreign money on U.S. politics.
“The court has, in effect, legalized foreign governments and foreign corporations to participate in our electoral politics,” said Pat Choate, an author and former Reform Party candidate for vice president. “It’ll happen instantaneously. It’ll happen in the 2010 elections. … The Japanese corporations, the European corporations will do it instantly through American subsidiaries.
In an apparent dig at the originalists in the majority, Stevens said throwing U.S. political campaigns open to foreigners would have upset the Founding Fathers. “The notion that Congress might lack the authority to distinguish foreigners from citizens in the regulation of electioneering would certainly have surprised the Framers, whose ‘obsession with foreign influence derived from a fear that foreign powers and individuals had no basic investment in the well-being of the country,’” Stevens wrote, quoting a law review article from Fordham professor Zephyr Teachout.