In a last-ditch effort to interrupt U.S. elections, President Obama's top ally on the Federal Election Commission is pushing to block 6.1 million Americans from the political process just because they work for the U.S. subsidiary of a foreign-owned company like the one the White House stopped from building the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Democrat Ann Ravel, in a move FEC experts say may violate the agency's own rules, wants to kill a 10-year-old rule allowing American workers for U.S.-based firms with some foreign ownership to participate in corporate campaign donor programs.

Her proposal set for consideration at the FEC's meeting next week reads:

"I move to formally rescind Advisory Opinion 2006-15 (TransCanada) and the parts of other advisory opinions that purported to permit Domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations to make contributions or donations, either directly or through separate segregated funds, in connection with federal, state, and local elections."

Ravel's proposal would prohibit foreign-owned U.S. subsidiaries from helping their workers set up a PAC. Also, while corporate contributions are prohibited in federal elections, half of the states allow corporations to make direct contributions from corporate treasury funds to candidates in state and local elections. The effect of any change would be to prohibit those direct corporate contributions.

Notably, the proposal would not include labor unions, some of which receive foreign funding and dues, and which support Democrats.

There are at least 6.1 million Americans working at U.S. companies with foreign ownership, from TransCanada to BMW. Her plan would bar those companies from helping American workers set up special funds like political action committees.

"In other words, if you are an American citizen who works at a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign company, Ann Ravel wants to restrict your ability to use American-derived dollars to participate in the political process," said an elections law expert. "The FEC should be looking at ways to encourage - not inhibit - Americans who want to participate in this November's election."

Ravel argued that the Citizens United law changed the world of campaign donations and the system needs to be tightened up. She is also concerned about foreign money in state, local and federal elections, though it is unclear how stopping American workers from donating to their corporate PACs would stop that.

"We need to clarify the status of this advisory opinion and other advisory opinions that similarly purported to permit domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations to make contributions or donations, either directly or through separate segregated funds, in connection with federal, state, and local elections to provide guidance to the regulated community," she said in a memo explaining her demand.

It is unclear, however, if her move is legal. FEC rules suggest that advisory opinions are supposed to be reconsidered within 30 days of their issuance, not 10 years later.

The opinion she is targeting is one that let American subsidiaries of TransCanada, the Keystone XL developer, to make contributions to state candidates on the same basis as unions and other U.S. corporations, and also set up a campaign fund.

Her move follows Obama's refusal to let TransCanada build the pipeline and after she met with Obama in the White House. And just this week, Republican Donald Trump said he would overturn Obama's decision and clear the way for the pipeline.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at