Why Shouldn’t Foreigners Be Free to Support U.S. Candidates?
President Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s jail sentence has re-raised the issue of Russia’s supposed involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign. Recall that the ostensible purpose of special prosecutor (and former FBI Director) Robert Mueller’s long, drawn-out investigation was to determine whether Russia played a role in the campaign and whether Trump had somehow become a covert agent of the Russian government.
A question naturally arises: Why should the Russian people and the Russian government be prohibited by U.S. law from supporting U.S. presidential and congressional candidates with money, counsel, or other assistance? Indeed, why shouldn’t any foreigner be free to donate or otherwise support U.S. candidates for federal office?
Let’s leave aside foreign governments for now and just focus on foreign citizens. Many of them are targeted for death, injury, and destruction by the U.S. government on a regular basis. That death and destruction comes in the form of sanctions, embargoes, invasions, bombings, shootings, torture, and occupations.
If anyone has a vested interest in electing the right candidates to Congress and the presidency, it is the very people who directly suffer the consequences of foreign interventionism. Why shouldn’t they be free to support federal candidates who oppose the foreign interventionism that brings them and their families and friends death, suffering, and destruction?
There is also the matter of fundamental rights. The U.S. Declaration of Independence, which American citizens recently celebrated, observes that everyone, not just American citizens, has been endowed by nature and his Creator with certain fundamental, inherent rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Liberty necessarily includes the right to do whatever a person wants with his own money. Under what moral or legal authority does the U.S. government prohibit a person from exercising the right to do what he wants with his own money, including donating it to a political candidate that is promising to bring an end to the death, suffering, and destruction that the U.S. government is inflicting or threatening to inflict on the foreigner and his family and friends?
Foreign governments, of course, stand in a different position than foreign citizens. The government money has been extracted from people by force through taxation. But if a foreign government wishes to donate its tax revenues to a presidential or congressional candidate, a U.S. candidate should be free to accept or reject such monies, just as Americans are free to accept or reject government monies here at home. Why not simply let foreign citizens resolve what their government should be doing or not doing with their tax payments?
The irony is that if candidates were elected to the presidency and to Congress who brought an an end to U.S. foreign interventionism, the incentive of foreigners to donate to U.S. candidates would dissipate. Why would foreigners want to waste their hard-earned money donating to U.S. candidates whose government lacked the power or the will to wreak death, suffering, and destruction on them or bribe their regimes with foreign aid?
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