DISCLOSE Act: The deal with U.S. subsidiary PACs

Covington released a client alert addressing The DISCLOSE Act and it’s available here.

The bills’ sponsors do not appear to want to disturb the existing FEC decisions that permit a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign corporation to operate a connected federal PAC, provided that no foreign national is involved in the PAC’s operation. Yet as currently phrased, the bills amend the definition of “foreign national” to include U.S. corporations that have foreign ownership or leadership, and existing FEC regulations prohibit “foreign nationals” from participating in the administration of a PAC. This will need to be resolved to prevent the FEC’s regulations from producing an unexpected consequence. Some have also noted that the structure of this amendment may also have the unexpected consequence of prohibiting a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign national from making contributions in state or local elections, to the degree that state law otherwise permits corporate contributions.

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