Bruce D. Brown


In the closing weeks of the 1996 presidential race, press reports uncovered that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had received large contributions from a number of individuals in the United States who were not American citizens. The articles publicized a little-scrutinized but longstanding set of legal standards governing the participation of aliens in the campaign finance system. Among those rules is a prohibition on donations from foreign sources. Because some of the immigrants who gave to the Democrats retained connections to overseas business interests, their contributions looked suspicious-and a scandal was born. That controversy now threatens to push Congress in the direction of taking a constitutionally suspect policy and making it worse.

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