Does the SCOTUS ruling allow international companies to fund politicians

I know corporations and interest groups can already use 527s to fund pro or anti candidate ads. And my understanding is the new rules give them more freedom to be pro or anti certain candidates.

But how does it apply to international corporations or front corporations? Can Citgo (which is based in Venezuela) fund candidates who take a soft line on Chavez?

Can the Iranian government set up a front corporation in the US and use that to promote or combat certain politicians?
How does this ruling change how international influences can affect elections?

The ruling does not allow corporations to fund candidates. Campaign contributions are still restricted.

The ruling does allow corporations to say “We don’t like this guy, we urge you to vote against him”. This is plain political speech, and as such, should be protected (at least in my opinion).

Mind you, this only applies to *independent *expenditures. A candidate cannot call up a CEO and say, “Hey, can you run an ad dumping on my opponent?” That is still forbidden.

Of course, proving a quid pro quo would be very difficult, but I have a very hard time accepting that people (whether individually or banded together in a group, corporate or otherwise) can’t say what they think in the public arena.

But Citgo could, in theory, still spend six billion dollars on television ads and mass mailings and phone calls to promote their favorite candidate, couldn’t they?

There are a lot of great arguments as to why not. However, that is a Great Debates thing which, as you might suspect, is already going on there. It is an interesting debate.

Are there laws prohibiting non-US-citizens from paying for political advertizements? If that’s not allowed, then I don’t see why foreign corporations would be able to get away with it. Conversely, if that is allowed, then I guess anything goes.

Federal Election Campaign Laws:

222 U.S.C. § 611(b) provides:
“(b) The term “foreign principal” includes—
(1) a government of a foreign country and a foreign political party;
(2) a person outside of the United States, unless it is established that such person is an individual and a citizen of and domiciled within the United States, or that such person is not an individual and is organized under or created by the laws of the United States or of any State or other place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and has its principal place of business within the United States; and
(3) a partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of persons organized under the laws of or having its principal place of business in a foreign country.”

This part seems essential to understanding what is forbidden here. What does it mean?

2 U.S.C. § 434(f)(3) Electioneering communication

    For purposes of this subsection —

    (A) In general

        (i) The term "electioneering communication" means any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication which —
            (I) refers to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office;
            (II) is made within —
                (aa) 60 days before a general, special, or runoff election for the office sought by the candidate; or
                (bb) 30 days before a primary or preference election, or a convention or caucus of a political party that has authority to nominate a candidate, for the office sought by the candidate; and

            (III) in the case of a communication which refers to a candidate for an office other than President or Vice President, is targeted to the relevant electorate.

        (ii) If clause (i) is held to be constitutionally insufficient by final judicial decision to support the regulation provided herein, then the term "electioneering communication" means any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication which promotes or supports a candidate for that office, or attacks or opposes a candidate for that office (regardless of whether the communication expressly advocates a vote for or against a candidate) and which also is suggestive of no plausible meaning other than an exhortation to vote for or against a specific candidate. Nothing in this subparagraph shall be construed to affect the interpretation or application of section 100.22(b) of title 11, Code of Federal Regulations.

    (B) Exceptions

        The term "electioneering communication" does not include —
            (i) a communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, unless such facilities are 
        owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate;
            (ii) a communication which constitutes an expenditure or an independent expenditure under this Act;
            (iii) a communication which constitutes a candidate debate or forum conducted pursuant to regulations adopted by the Commission, or which solely promotes such a debate or forum and is made by or on behalf of the person sponsoring 
        the debate or forum; or
            (iv) any other communication exempted under such regulations as the Commission may promulgate (consistent with the requirements of this paragraph) to ensure the appropriate implementation of this paragraph, except that under any such regulation a communication may not be exempted if it meets the requirements of this paragraph and is described in section 431(20)(A)(iii) of this title.

    (C) Targeting to relevant electorate

        For purposes of this paragraph, a communication which refers to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office is "targeted to the relevant electorate" if the communication can be received by 50,000 or more persons —
            (i) in the district the candidate seeks to represent, in the case of a candidate for Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress; or
            (ii) in the State the candidate seeks to represent, in the case of a candidate for Senator.

So a foreign corporation could fund a movie or a book to campaign for a particular politician: it’s only in the broadcasting media that they can’t fund “electioneering communications”.

A decent article on this: