Foreign lobbyists gave more than $33.5 million in political donations during the 2020 election, according to a Thursday report from campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets.
Lobbyists representing foreign clients donated about $125,000 to President BidenJoe BidenGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Sanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'Its not coming out' Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE’s campaign accounts, despite Biden’s pledge to reject lobbyist contributions, according to the analysis.
Former President TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE’s 2020 reelection effort received roughly $80,000 in donations from foreign lobbyists and another $3.9 million in bundled donations, the report said.
While foreign nationals are barred from making political donations, foreign agents and registered lobbyists representing foreign clients are allowed to bankroll presidential and congressional campaigns.
Scrutiny of foreign lobbying has ramped up in recent years, starting with the 2018 indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortHuawei paid Tony Podesta 0K for White House lobbying FBI agents swarm Russian oligarch's DC home DOJ investigating one-time Trump campaign adviser over alleged ties to Qatar: report MORE for violating foreign lobbying laws.
Federal prosecutors recently indicted Tom Barrack, the chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, on charges that he secretly worked to influence Trump’s campaign and administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
The Justice Department is also reportedly investigating Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiLev Parnas found guilty of breaking campaign finance laws Giuliani associate Lev Parnas won't testify at trial Four Seasons Total Landscaping comes full circle with MSNBC special MORE, Trump’s former personal attorney, over his alleged undisclosed lobbying work for Ukraine and Turkey.
Lawmakers have increasingly turned their attention to foreign influence laws that haven’t been updated for decades. Last month, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would ban foreign lobbyists from making political donations.
In addition to lobbyist donations, PACs affiliated with foreign-owned companies, which raise money from U.S. employees, contributed roughly $24 million during the 2020 election, OpenSecrets reported.
Other groups that spend millions to influence elections, including the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have reported raising money from foreign firms but say it isn’t used on elections.
Federal officials raised concerns about foreign influence in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
The Federal Election Commission’s Office of the Inspector General on Monday warned that the agency does not have the tools in place to identify foreign political donations, a problem that poses “significant national security risks.”