‘The Wyss Loophole’: Campaign Grows To Halt Foreign Billionaire’s Spending On U.S. Politics
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01: Former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg (L) and philanthropist Hansjorg Wyss attend Oceana's 2015 New York City benefit at Four Seasons Restaurant on April 1, 2015 in New York City.
Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Oceana.

There is a growing push for legislation to bar wealthy foreign billionaires like Switzerland’s Hansjorg Wyss from pouring hundreds of millions of dollars in support of leftist causes in the United States, with a new ad campaign arguing that the billionaire’s aim is using a loophole to transform U.S. politics. 

The ad campaign from Americans for Public Trust, a nonpartisan watchdog, says Wyss has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to leftist and Democrat-aligned groups, pushing for changes to U.S. election laws and radical policies such as packing the Supreme Court.

Caitlin Sutherland, the group’s executive director, said Wyss is doing so “taking advantage” of gaps in our legal system to influence elections.

“Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has doled out hundreds of millions of dollars to various left-wing groups actively pursuing radical policies,” Sutherland told The Daily Wire. “He’s taken advantage of gaps in our laws that are designed to ban foreign nationals from influencing American elections.”

“It’s time for Congress to close the Wyss loophole that has allowed foreign dark money to flood the American political system,” she said. 

Wyss nonprofits, including the Wyss Foundation and the Berger Fund, have spent $475 million influencing U.S. politics, according to the watchdog. It found that $265 million of the money from the Wyss nonprofits went to Arabella Advisors, a dark money network that supports liberal causes across the country.

The new ad campaign, first viewed by The Daily Wire, will run across all social media platforms. The goal of the campaign is to alert lawmakers, Capitol Hill staffers, and the media about the influence of Wyss, and urges legislative reform. 

“Foreign national Hansjorg Wyss is barred from influencing U.S. elections. That hasn’t stopped liberals from banking on him for nearly $500 million to push for changes to election laws, defunding the police, packing the Supreme Court, politicizing the classroom, and more,” the campaign says. 

The APT has called for an end to the law that allows foreign nationals to give to 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that can advocate for policy. The watchdog has sued the Federal Elections Commissions in an attempt to stop foreign money from going toward groups like Arabella Advisors. APT wants the law prohibiting foreign nationals from giving to political action committees or candidates to be expanded. 

Legislation has been introduced in Congress to stop the practice and the House Ways and Means Committee has started looking into the “political activities” of tax-exempt organizations.

“Our leaders must pass legislation that outright bans foreign nationals from contributing to 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. Foreign nationals should be prohibited from contributing to these conduits for electoral advocacy, just as they are prohibited from contributing to U.S. political campaigns. This will be a meaningful step to ensure that our elections are free from foreign meddling and ill intent,” the APT said in a July report on Wyss’ donations. 


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