Fighting Foreign-Corporate Political Access: Applying Corporate Veil-Piercing Doctrine to Domestic-Subsidiary Contributions

Ryan Rott*

Campaign finance regulations limit speech. The laws preclude foreign nationals, including foreign corporations, from participating in U.S. politics via campaign contributions. The unusual characteristics of corporations, however, may allow foreign corporations to exploit a loophole in the regulatory regime. A foreign corporation may contribute to political campaigns by acquiring a domestic subsidiary and dominating it. This Note addresses how these unusual corporate behaviors enable foreign corporations to illegally corrupt the political process. This Note concludes that to close the loophole without violating the free speech rights of domestic subsidiaries, Congress should enact legislation which would apply corporate veil-piercing theory to the campaign finance system, reinforcing its legislation with qui tam provisions.

* J.D. Candidate, May 2016, University of Michigan Law School. I am truly grateful to Danielle Kalil-McLane, Kate Canny, Daniel Cellucci, Chance Hill, Sommer Engels, and all the editors of the Michigan Law Review for their invaluable help throughout the writing process. I would also like to thank Professor David Uhlmann for being an incredible mentor. Finally, thank you to my parents, my brother, Papa, Zeide, Andrew Robb, Katherine Lewis, and my entire family for their unwavering love and support.

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