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Record No: CB 119731    Version: Council Bill No: CB 119731
Type: Ordinance (Ord) Status: Passed
Current Controlling Legislative Body City Clerk
On agenda: 1/13/2020
Ordinance No: Ord 126035
Title: AN ORDINANCE related to elections; prohibiting foreign-influenced corporations from making independent expenditures or contributing to campaigns and independent expenditure committees; amending Sections 2.04.010, 2.04.260, 2.04.270, 2.04.360, and 2.04.370 of the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC); and adding a new Section 2.04.400 to the SMC.
Sponsors: M. Lorena González
Supporting documents: 1. Summary and Fiscal Note, 2. Central Staff Memo, 3. Presentation, 4. Proposed Amendment 1, 5. Proposed Amendment 2
CITY OF SEATTLE
ORDINANCE __________________
COUNCIL BILL __________________
title
AN ORDINANCE related to elections; prohibiting foreign-influenced corporations from making independent expenditures or contributing to campaigns and independent expenditure committees; amending Sections 2.04.010, 2.04.260, 2.04.270, 2.04.360, and 2.04.370 of the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC); and adding a new Section 2.04.400 to the SMC.
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BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. The City Council makes the following findings of fact:
A. The City of Seattle welcomes immigrants, visitors, and investors from around the world. However, its elections should be decided by the people of Seattle and not by foreign investors or the business entities over which they exert influence.
B. Foreign nationals have used and may continue to use U.S. business entities to funnel funds into U.S. elections, which is in violation of federal laws prohibiting foreign spending in U.S. elections. There are recent instances of intentional and targeted foreign interference in domestic local elections, including in San Diego, where in 2017, a businessman was convicted in federal court of unlawfully funneling foreign funding into local elections through third parties and shell corporations in order to support politicians who might support his real estate development plans; and in New York, where, in 2019, four individuals have been indicted on charges stemming from a scheme in which they laundered foreign money into U.S. elections via shell corporations and straw donors.
C. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has acknowledged the validity of legislation "to protect the country's political processes after recognizing the susceptibility of the elections process to foreign interference," including in municipal elections. (United States v. Singh, 924 F. 3d 1030, 1043 (2019)).
D. The United States government has concluded that the 2016 presidential elec...

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