26 Jul If It’s Thursday, It Must Be London (Mitt Romney Edition)
Mitt Romney is holding a fundraiser this evening in London. (Here’s a nice scene-setter.) Almost quaint how he promises not to criticize Obama while abroad, in the tradition of politics stoppping at the water’s edge (as if physical location still mattered in the context of completely transnationalized media).
Three quick thoughts:
1. This kind of extraterritorial campaigning is becoming routine. Lots of US citizens live abroad (estimates of as many as seven million), they can vote come November, and (way more importantly) they have a lot of money. For Romney’s purposes, London is just a little east of the Hamptons!
2. I wonder if Romney will get an earful about new IRS practices regarding foreign account holders and the notorious (at least among nonresident Americans) law known as FATCA. Nonresidents have some discrete interests as such, but they don’t seem to have organized very well as a special interest group. (It would be easier if there were a First Overseas District in Congress — an approach now used by other countries, for example France, in which external citizens have their own representatives in national legislatures).
3. Why is it someone who lives in London can donate money when some people living in the US can’t? Some of the donors at tonight’s dinner may never have resided in the United States (it is possible to be a US citizen for life without ever having set foot in the US, though I doubt that would be true of the private-jet set around the table with Mitt). Bluman v. FEC presented a very plausible challenge to the ban on campaign donations by nonimmigrants in the US (brought by two very sympathetic plaintiffs – one a lawyer, one a doctor, one Republican, one Democrat, both here on long-term work visas). That was given the back of the hand by the Judge Kavanaugh, on a well-dressed but basically ipse dixit basis.