Citizens United said that US corporations can spend unlimited "independent expenditures for political campaigns".

However, foreign natural persons and foreign corporations are not allowed to spend any independent expenditures for US political campaigns. Even buying merchandise from a presidential candidate's campaign website would be illegal for a foreign natural person or a foreign corporation.

However, for a US corporation that is 100% owned by foreign natural persons, does Citizens United apply? What about 99%, 98%, 97%, .... ?

  • 1
    Can you give a source for the claim that even buying merchandise would be illegal for a foreigner? That seems impossible to enforce and laws are rarely made that way.
    – quarague
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 6:22
  • @quarague It is impossible to enforce, and it is not enforced. But technically that is the law. Buying merchandise on Amazon is not illegal for anyone. Buying it on a candidate's campaign website is illegal for a foreigner. However, this is not the main point of the question. You can get details about this on Google.
    – pERlEdeA
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 7:30
  • pERlEdeA you haven't responded to @quarague's request for a source.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 7:34
  • @quarague I think it's just a consequence of these purchases being considered to be contributions to the campaign, not commercial purchases.
    – Barmar
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


From https://www.fec.gov/updates/foreign-nationals/

A domestic subsidiary of a foreign corporation (or a domestic corporation owned by foreign nationals) may make donations and disbursements in connection with state or local elections (if permissible under state and local law) provided that:

  • These activities are not financed in any part by the foreign parent or owner; and
  • Individual foreign nationals are not involved in any way in the making of donations to nonfederal candidates and committees.

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