“Imagine, for example, a foreign billionaire who was dissatisfied with U.S. Immigration policy and decided to try to change it more his own liking, one statewide ballot measure at a time,” wrote Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub. “The ballot measure is the mechanism design to most directly express the will of the American people regarding the laws that govern us. I think most Americans would be disturbed by the notion that a wealthy foreigner could freely spend to rewrite our laws.” In reaching a 3-3 deadlock, the Federal Election Commission decided to not investigate allegations that an international pornography and advertising firm made $327,000 in donations to a campaign to defeat a ballot initiative in Los Angeles County, a move that some worry could open the door to more foreign money in state elections.
The 2012 ballot initiative in question mandated adult film actors to wear condoms while making pornographic movies. Following the initiative’s passage, a complaint was filed by a California HIV-AIDS advocacy group alleging that two pornography distributors connected to global pornography and advertising firm Manwin International SARL violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by donating $327,000 to a campaign to defeat the ballot initiative, reported Reuters.
FEC Chairman Ann Ravel and the two other FEC Democratic commissioners voted to investigate the donations to determine whether the California opposition campaign deserved to be fined for accepting foreign funds.