SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously passed a measure to rein in political spending by “foreign-influenced” companies, following city council elections last year that drew unprecedented spending — including a record $1.5 million from Amazon.
The measure puts the city in the vanguard of local efforts to control corporate political spending. It blocks any corporation from giving money to candidates or to independent political-action committees if that corporation has one non-American investor holding at least 1% ownership, or multiple non-American investors holding at least 5%.
St. Petersburg, Florida, has a similar ban.
“We have an epidemic of big money in our elections, and this step helps to address the appearance and risk of corruption in our local elections,” Councilmember M. Lorena González, the legislation’s sponsor, said in a news release. “Essentially, this legislation closes a loophole that previously allowed foreign persons to use their ownership in a corporation to influence political activity.”