The 2016 and 2020 campaign seasons and the subsequent government response normalized a damaging notion: that soliciting or participating in foreign interference in a U.S. election will not be prosecuted. Foreign governments from Beijing to Moscow and elsewhere are watching closely, and unless Congress and the new administration act quickly to close loopholes in the current U.S. legal framework governing political campaigns, every major U.S. election could be undermined by foreign interference that is not prohibited by U.S. law. A new legal framework around political campaigns is sorely needed—one that provides a proactive and holistic approach to foreign interference rooted in the need to protect U.S. national security.

The Alliance for Securing Democracy’s Head of Policy and Research Jessica Brandt and Malign Finance Fellow Josh Rudolph today released Spies and Money: Legal Defenses Against Foreign Interference in Political Campaigns, a roadmap for Congress and the new administration that identifies gaps in the legal framework that governs campaigns and foreign interference—and recommends 10 actions to close them.

Jessica and Josh identify gaps in two key areas: counter-intelligence measures and campaign finance. These include:

  • The absence of a national security-oriented law that prohibits candidates or campaigns from collaborating with a foreign power to influence an election;
  • Campaign finance laws designed to prevent quantifiable domestic corruption rather than intangible assistance from foreign adversaries;
  • Shortcomings in the primary U.S. law regulating foreign interference, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which is only a disclosure statute, is insufficiently enforced, contains loopholes, and is not scoped toward efforts to influence candidates or voters;
  • The lack of a requirement for campaigns to report offers of assistance from abroad;
  • Extensive financial secrecy rights in the United States, which make uncovering wrongdoing by companies and candidates difficult.

Read the framework:

Please reach out to if you are interested in speaking to Jessica and Josh about the report.