The Shakedown

The US Supreme Court has taken a very restrictive view of the type of state interests sufficient to warrant regulation of campaign or political party financing. This narrow approach to political corruption sits uneasily with current US law banning foreign actors from financing domestic election expenditures. The Court has so far upheld these bans, using an under-theorized rationale grounded in the need to restrict electoral influence to members of the relevant community, but the bans seem unlikely to survive the more robust judicial interrogation they will certainly face in the near future. Drawing on existing case law involving restrictions on the political activity of federal employees and contractors, this paper argues that the constitutionality of foreign expenditure bans is better supported by the “anti-shakedown” rationale used in those cases.