The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Democracy for the People Act on Thursday, which includes a provision that will effectively ban foreign-influenced corporate spending in state and local elections. The bill now moves to the state senate.


The Minnesota House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass a landmark campaign finance law that will prohibit the influence of foreign corporate spending in elections. With a pending vote anticipated in the state senate, the vote sets Minnesota on the path to be the first state in the nation to pass such legislation.

Minnesota house

The Democracy for the People Act, an omnibus democracy bill designed to strengthen voting rights, protect voters and the elections system, and modernize the campaign finance system, includes a provision that will bar foreign-influenced corporations from spending money to influence state elections. It would also create automatic voter registration, authorize pre-registration for sixteen and seventeen-year-olds to vote, and establish a permanent absentee voting list, among other measures.

The new ban on foreign-influenced corporations spending money to influence elections stems from model legislation developed by Free Speech For People, a national nonpartisan non-profit organization that works to renew our democracy. Free Speech For People helped to pass similar legislation in Seattle, Washington in 2020. Five additional states (Hawaii, California, Washington, New York, and Massachusetts) and the federal government are considering similar bans.

Once enforced, Minnesota’s new legislation will ensure that any company that is owned five percent by multiple foreign owners, or one percent by a single foreign owner, will be prohibited from spending money directly or giving it to a super PAC to spend in Minnesota state or local elections.

“Multinational corporations are corrupting representative democracy by drowning out the voices of the people.” says Alexandra Flores-Quilty, Campaign Director at Free Speech For People. “The Democracy for the People Act will help put power back in the hands of citizens.”

“Corporate executives know where their bread is buttered. This bill addresses the threat to Minnesota’s democratic self-government posed by corporate political spending by foreign-influenced corporations,” says Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein.

“Minnesota has long been a leader in democracy and so it’s no surprise that the House voted today to put Minnesota on the path to becoming the first state to prohibit foreign-influenced corporations from spending in our elections,” says Lilly Sasse, Campaign Director of We Choose Us. “When we conducted polling in November, we found that over 80% of Minnesotans support this policy. It’s clear to the people of Minnesota that prohibiting foreign-influenced corporations from spending in our elections is good for our democracy. And after today, it’s clear that we’re on the path to signing it into law.”

For more information about the new legislation, visit.

To read the bill, visit.