As the debate on the interference of corporates in American local elections intensifies, Seattle is likely to put a blanket ban on political funding by few corporates. Seattle City Council may approve legislation that doesn’t allow any corporate companies having more than 5% foreign ownership to fund electoral campaigns.
Seattle is the cradle of the largest e-commerce company in the world, Amazon. This new legislation, if passed, may impact the company in many ways. This legislation is expected to be challenged in court anytime soon.
As far as the status of the resolution is concerned, a committee with six City Council members has already given assent to this bill, and that makes almost impossible to be rejected by the council having nine members in total.
The debate started when Amazon funded a whopping 1.5 million USD in the council elections held in November. It tried to push some candidates who are largely viewed as pro-business. However, Amazon’s efforts did not work out well.
Amazon is currently having way more than 5% foreign ownership, which makes the firm ineligible to make an impact on the local elections. No official comment has been sought from Amazon in this regard.
Jim Manley, an attorney with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, said,
What they are proposing is likely an unconstitutional backdoor ban on U.S. companies speaking about local elections.
Earlier in 2010, in a similar series of events, the Supreme Court had removed all limits put on the corporates to fund elections. However, companies are directed not to support election campaigns directly; instead, they can spend on advertisements and banners.
As far as the central theme of the legislation goes, it aims to eliminate any foreign subjects to participate or influence local elections. Along with the 5% ownership clause, it also calls for banning any company having even one foreigner investor with at least 1% of the total stock.
It should be reported here that St. Petersburg, Florida, is already having such law in place since 2017. There have been no challenges to this law in the court of law.