With Hudson Institute's Kleptocracy Initiative, I wrote (and podcasted) on the history of foreign lobbying in the US, and how to reform legislation currently in place to monitor those pushing foreign interests in Washington:
Forcing those lobbying on behalf of foreign governments to register, American officials believed, would allow constituents and legislators alike that much more transparency in Washington. Further – and perhaps more quaintly – federal officials apparently believed that such registration would offer sufficient humiliation to those acting on behalf of foreign dictatorships. As Silverstein wrote, “The idea seems to be that with the need for disclosure, lobbyists would find it too embarrassing to take on clients that were hideously immoral or corrupt, no matter how much money they were offered.” But as the past few decades have illustrated, “That assumption proved to be naïve.”
And with Quartz, I looked through the mutual histories of election-meddling from Moscow and Washington, and how 2016 squares with past precedent:
Besides the well-documented 1984 campaign, Andrew writes that in 1960, the KGB’s Washington agent “was ordered to ‘propose diplomatic or propaganda initiatives, or any other measures, to facilitate [John F.] Kennedy’s victory.’” (The spy’s attempt to make contact with Robert Kennedy, as Andrew noted, “was politely rebuffed.”) In 1968, as detailed in the memoir of the Soviet Union’s long-serving ambassador to the US, Anatoly Dobrynin, Moscow ordered its man in Washington to offer Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey “any conceivable help” during the election—including financing the campaign outright. Humphrey eventually lost the race, but he can at least maintain that he refused any Soviet funding.
Then there were the events of 1948, when the Soviet Union threw its support behind third-party candidate and former vice president Henry Wallace. While Wallace’s candidacy ended up as little more than a longshot—he failed to land a single vote in the Electoral College—it’s not surprising that Moscow pushed his candidacy. This was a man who, as vice president under Franklin Roosevelt, saw both of his preferred candidates for secretary of defense and secretary of state later outed as Soviet agents.