In his farewell address, President George Washington warned about “the insidious wiles of foreign influence.” In Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) recent statement supporting some provisions in the For the People Act (S. 1), he voiced a modern echo of Washington by warning that “the lack of transparency in many campaign finance rules provides multiple avenues for foreign and national adversaries to meddle in the American political system.” That is why Manchin supports the DISCLOSE Act and Honest Ads Act, which would impose financial transparency on “dark money” non-profits and online political advertisements, respectively.

Manchin is right.

The most comprehensive research on covert foreign money identified more than 100 cases — totaling more than $300 million over the past decade — of authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China funneling money into democratic processes as a geopolitical weapon. And the even greater scandal is how much of that is legal, as 83 percent of this activity was enabled by seven statutory loopholes.

The Hill

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