Alfredo Garcia emails: On Friday, the Federal Election Commission issued an advisory opinion, FEC Advisory Opinion 2004-26, which significantly loosens the restrictions on the ability of foreign nationals - even those who have not been admitted to the U.S. for permanent residency - to be involved with the operations of political action committees.
The FEC advisory opinion came in response to a request from Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL). Rep. Weller recently became engaged to a citizen of Guatemala. He asked the FEC whether or to what extent his fiancé could be involved in the activities of his affiliated campaign committees and leadership PAC. In his request, Rep. Weller noted that his fiancé is not a U.S. citizen, does not have permanent resident status in the United States and that she plans to remain a citizen of Guatemala and does not intend to apply for United States citizenship.
In it's legal analysis, the FEC repeated the well-established rule that foreign nationals may not, directly or indirectly, participate in a PAC's decision-making process concerning the making of contributions, donations, expenditures, or disbursements in connection with elections for any Federal, State, or local office or decisions concerning the administration of a political committee. AO 2004-26 at 3 (citing 11 C.F.R. 110.20(i)).
Without any further analysis or explanation, the Commission then concluded that Rep. Weller's fiancé could "as an uncompensated volunteer, . . . solicit funds from persons who are not foreign nationals." Id. Moreover, the Commission concluded that Rep. Weller's fiancé could "attend meetings with [campaign] personnel regarding [campaign] events or political strategy. She may not, however, be involved in the management of the [campaign]."
FEC Advisory Opinion 2004-26 will have a significant impact on PACs operated by U.S. subsidiaries of foreign corporations. Under this advisory opinion, officers of a U.S. subsidiary's foreign parent - regardless of their nationality or U.S. immigration status - may directly solicit contributions to the subsidiary's PAC from employees of either the foreign parent or the U.S. subsidiary as long as those solicited are U.S. citizens. The German CEO of DaimlerChrysler, for example, may now solicit contributions to DaimlerChrysler's PAC from the company's U.S. managers.
I added the link to the AO.