Photo: Restore Our Future
The OdysseyRe corporation — an insurance company in Connecticut — made a $1 million contribution to the Mitt Romney-affiliated Restore Our Future Super PAC.After the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court last year, a number of corporations like the Koch-controlled Oxbow Carbon and Huron Carbon have been able to contribute unlimited funds directly to super PACs.
But here’s the thing. According to Michael Beckel at the centre for Public Integrity, OdysseyRe is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a Canadian insurance and investment giant controlled by Indian-born CEO V. Prem Watsa.
Only citizens of the United States can legally contribute to a federal political campaign. Foreign nationals cannot directly or indirectly contribute to a campaign.
But corporations are murkier.
Since the Citizens United decision allows corporations to contribute as well, it’s not particularly clear whether this million dollar donation from a foreign-held firm is legal.
Paul S. Ryan from the Campaign Legal centre told Michael Beckel that the move “raises some legal red flags.”
This hasn’t been an issue in the past. Before Citizens United, a person was either a citizen or they weren’t. Now, with corporate political personhood the law of the land, figuring out who exactly is the source of a contribution becomes significantly more difficult.
The $1 million is a pretty significant amount of money at this stage in the game as well — Beckel says that it’s worth around one to two weeks worth of ads in several markets.
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