The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld a federal law that bars foreign nationals from spending to influence U.S. elections. In the latest of a series of high-profile cases challenging limits to political contributions, the high court affirmed a lower court ruling that foreign citizens can be excluded from certain civic and political activities. The Supreme Court summarily upheld the lower court’s decision in the Bluman v. Federal Election Commission case without comment. Campaign finance reform advocates painted the court’s decision as a victory for keeping corporate foreign cash from improperly influencing the U.S. political system.
“It was a way to get more foreign corporate money into elections,” said Richard Hasen, an election law expert and professor at the University of California Irvine. “The thinking is this would just be a general tool to further deregulate the system.” Two foreign nationals had challenged the law in federal court, arguing that it violated the First Amendment rights of foreign nationals who legally live and work in the United States.