Congress working to end foreign donations in American politics

FILE - This Nov. 18, 2016, file photo, shows the U.S. Capitol dome at sunset on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Using a credit card is one of the most common ways to make a transaction. When making a purchase online, it’s usually pretty simple – you enter your credit card number, your address, security code, and that’s it.

But when it comes to making political donations, it’s often even easier; sometimes, no address is required.

“The rules we have for campaign finance were really set up in the 1960’s before you had online credit card donations,” said Peter Schweizer, President of the Government Accountability Institute. His organization found 44 percent of members of Congress don’t require online donors to enter a security code, which Schweizer said could lead to people’s donations going unchecked.

“If you don’t have credit card fraud detection, those donations will go undisclosed and undetected,” he said, adding not only can people donate more than the limits, they can also be from countries outside the United States.

The Federal Election Commission makes it very clear making any foreign donations to any national, state, district, or local political parties or organizations is against the law. But many people have still found a way to donate which raises questions about what they’re getting in return.

“If the American people are going to have any confidence in the people they send to Washington, they need to know who is supporting those people,” said Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). He’s one of the 37 co-sponsors of the bill, named The Stop Foreign Donations Affecting our Elections Act - which has the support of Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate.

“The influence of money on policy is greater today than it’s ever been. Particularly with this Russian investigation, these bills in the Senate and House are more needed today than ever before,” Rep. Jones said in an interview Wednesday.

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