Kennedy, Manchin introduce bipartisan Protecting Our Courts from Foreign Manipulation Act to end overseas meddling in U.S. litigation
Sep 14 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary committee, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today introduced the Protecting Our Courts from Foreign Manipulation Act of 2023 to stop foreign entities and governments from funding litigation in America’s courts.
“Leaving our courts unprotected from foreign influence—such as from China—poses a major risk to U.S. national security. The Protecting Our Courts from Foreign Manipulation Act would put necessary safeguards in place to ensure that foreign nations, private equity funds and sovereign wealth funds linked to hostile governments are not tipping the scale in federal courtrooms,” said Kennedy.
“Foreign actors such as China and Russia use third-party litigation funding to support targeted lawsuits in the United States, undermining our economic and national security. This legislation would provide a commonsense strategy to protect our legal system by requiring greater transparency and accountability from third-party groups and preventing third-party litigation funding from foreign states and sovereign wealth funds. I urge Senators on both sides of the aisle to support this bipartisan bill to ensure that our federal courts are protected from foreign influence,” said Manchin.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Foreign states and sovereign wealth funds should not meddle in our justice system. This bill prevents foreign actors like China from financing malicious lawsuits, protects critical industries and prioritizes the interests of Americans in court,” said Johnson.
Currently, foreign entities flood courts with billions of dollars in litigation financing in order to achieve a particular outcome in a case. Hostile foreign governments or companies that are connected with those governments could fund lawsuits in federal courts in order to achieve their geopolitical objectives and undermine America’s national security, especially by targeting proprietary commercial and military technology and exploiting U.S. disclosure requirements.
The Protecting Our Courts from Foreign Manipulation Act would:
- Require disclosure from any foreign person or entity participating in civil litigation as a third-party litigation funder in U.S. federal courts.
- Ban sovereign wealth funds and foreign governments from participating in litigation finance as a third-party litigation funder, either directly or indirectly.
- Require the Department of Justice’s National Security Division to submit a report on foreign third-party litigation funding throughout the federal judiciary.
In January, Kennedy urged U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to take action in order to mitigate the threat foreign actors like China pose by covertly funding litigation in U.S. courts.
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds Sens. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) for introducing this landmark bill, and we urge Congress to quickly pass it to protect consumers, businesses, and U.S. national and economic security,” said Harold Kim, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform.
“The R Street Institute is excited to support and endorse Senator Kennedy’s legislation that will shine a light on the shadowy funders of third-party litigation, and limit the ability of foreign governments to negatively impact various U.S. industries by tying them up in anonymous third-party litigation. The current third-party litigation funding laws lack much needed transparency, and they could open the door to foreign entities detrimentally impacting our national security. We applaud the Senator for his leadership on this issue, and we urge more lawmakers to join him in this effort,” said Anthony Lamorena, Senior Federal Affairs Manager at the R Street Institute.
Full text of the legislation is available here.