Schweikert Bill to Fight Foreign Influence & Protect Donor Privacy Passes Committee

Schweikert Bill to Fight Foreign Influence & Protect Donor Privacy Passes Committee

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
May 15, 2024

Money makes the world go 'round, and nowhere is that truer than politics. Unfortunately, America's adversaries, such as China, are seeking to influence our politics through financing tax-exempt organizations. Thankfully, a bill introduced by Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ) recently passed the Ways and Means Committee, which would require these organizations to disclose the amount of foreign money they receive while protecting the privacy of American donors to these same organizations.

The American Donor Privacy and Foreign Funding Transparency Act (H.R.8293) was introduced by Rep. Schweikert just last week. Its swift passage out of committee underscores the urgency and severity of the issue it seeks to address.

H.R. 8293's two primary provisions would require tax-exempt organizations to disclose in an annual report how much money they receive from foreign donors, where the money came from, whether or not they accepted it, and how much the organization took in total from the foreign source.

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Foreign countries commonly seek to influence American politics by funneling money into research organizations such as Harvard University and others with tax-exempt status.

Bloomberg discussed this worrying phenomenon at the beginning of May when Huawei, the Chinese telecom company blacklisted by the United States, was discovered funding research through a Washington-based independent organization.

The second provision protects the privacy of American donors to these organizations, prohibiting the Federal government from collecting data on their identities or requiring the submission of information about them from tax-exempt organizations.

In his press release, Rep. Schweikert said, "There is no place for foreign adversaries in American politics. Not only does the American Donor Privacy and Foreign Funding Transparency Act bring to light the workaround foreign donors use to influence our democracy, but it also enshrines American donors' rights to privacy under the First Amendment."

Similarly, Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-MO) referenced the 2013 Lois Lerner scandal, in which Lerner, through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), unfairly targeted conservative groups such as the Tea Party seeking tax-exempt status.

"The Lois Lerner IRS scandal was a dark reminder of what happens when a federal agency attempts to target Americans based on their political opinions," said Rep. Smith.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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