June 5, 2020 •

DOJ FARA Unit Publishes Letters of Determination

The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building

On June 4, the Foreign Agents Registration Acts (FARA) Unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ) updated its public list “Letters of Determination” it has issued since 2017. The list was initially published on the DOJ’s website on June 1. […]

On June 4, the Foreign Agents Registration Acts (FARA) Unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ) updated its public list “Letters of Determination” it has issued since 2017. The list was initially published on the DOJ’s website on June 1.

The 15 letters made public were sent by the FARA Unit to potential registrants after evaluations were completed by the unit to determine whether registration was required. The letters, issued between 2017 and 2019, set forth relevant facts, applicable statutory and regulatory provisions, and the unit’s analysis.

While the names of the individuals and foreign principals who are the subject of the letters, and their respective activities being considered by the FARA Unit, are not redacted, the letters do contain some redactions.

According to the FARA Unit, “[The FARA Unit of the DOJ] regularly reviews information to determine whether an entity or individual has an obligation to register under FARA. Where such information suggests that a registration obligation may exist, the FARA Unit sends a letter advising the entity or individual of its potential obligations under FARA, and seeking additional information.”

FARA is a disclosure statute requiring persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make public disclosure of their relationship with and activities for the foreign principal.

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February 3, 2020 •

Bill to Amend FARA Introduced to help Enforcement

On January 30, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to help its enforcement. House Bill 5733, introduced by Rep. Seth Moulton, would waive the application of the FARA […]

On January 30, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to help its enforcement.

House Bill 5733, introduced by Rep. Seth Moulton, would waive the application of the FARA law to agents representing foreign enterprises not under the control or direction of foreign governments or foreign political parties.

In his press release, Moulton argues the legislation would make it easier to enforce FARA by narrowing those who must register as foreign agents to include only those people working on behalf of foreign governments or foreign political parties.

The legislation would also exclude agents who represent foreign governments engaging in a pattern of gross violations of human rights from an exemption currently provided under the Act for agents engaged in scholastic and certain other pursuits and would add civil penalties for violations.

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September 27, 2019 •

FARA Update eFiling Registration System

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced, effective this week, all foreign agents filing with the DOJ under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) must submit their initial registration statements using its new online eFile system. In the DOJ’s announcement, […]

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced, effective this week, all foreign agents filing with the DOJ under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) must submit their initial registration statements using its new online eFile system.

In the DOJ’s announcement, the agency said the “upgraded filing system allows registrants to submit data through a self-guided, web-based questionnaire, rather than uploading PDFs.”

While the current system will only allow for initial registrations, all other FARA filings will continue to use the existing eFiling system until further notice.

FARA is a disclosure statute requiring persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make public disclosure of their relationship with and activities for the foreign principal.

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June 17, 2019 •

NYCU Video Digest – June 17, 2019

New FARA Regulations, and changes being made to lobbying disclosures in various states. Catch up with all of it in this edition of News You Can Use Video Digest!

New FARA Regulations, and changes being made to lobbying disclosures in various states. Catch up with all of it in this edition of News You Can Use Video Digest!

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June 11, 2019 •

Bi-Partisan Bill to Amend FARA Introduced in U.S. Senate

On June 10, a bi-partisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA). The bill would provide the U.S. Attorney General greater authority to promote enforcement of the law and increase […]

On June 10, a bi-partisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA).

The bill would provide the U.S. Attorney General greater authority to promote enforcement of the law and increase disclosure requirements of agents of foreign principals.

Senate Bill 1762 requires foreign agents to disclose their clients immediately so policy makers can evaluate their positions in light of those associations.

Additionally, the bill requires the Justice Department to craft a comprehensive FARA enforcement strategy, and creates oversight mechanisms to prevent abuse of the new authorities according to the press release of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican sponsor of the bill.

The legislation would also establish a review of the Lobbying Disclosure Act exemption to determine whether and to what extent it has been abused for purposes of concealing foreign influence.

Only 15 violations of FARA have been criminally prosecuted since 1966 and “about half of those stemmed from Mr. Mueller’s investigation,” according to Grassley’s statement in his press release.

Co-sponsors of the bill include Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Dianne Feinstein.

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June 8, 2018 •

FARA Advisory Opinions Now Available to Public

On June 8, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Registration Unit released several years’ worth of advisory opinions previously unavailable to the public. The advisory opinions, covering the period from January 1, 2010, to the present, […]

On June 8, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Registration Unit released several years’ worth of advisory opinions previously unavailable to the public.

The advisory opinions, covering the period from January 1, 2010, to the present, had been previously issued to individuals and lobbyists concerning registration and other issues falling under FARA. 49 advisory opinions concerning FARA have been issued by the DOJ since January 1, 2010.

Also included with the release of the advisory opinions are three additional letters sent in response to requests for general information.

Future advisory opinions will be made publicly available and posted on the DOJ’s website periodically.

The advisory opinions can be found here.

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March 27, 2018 •

Foreign Influence Transparency Act Introduced in Senate

On March 21, Senators Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton and Rep. Joe Wilson introduced a bill to limit exemptions for registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Senate Bill 2583, the Foreign Influence Transparency Act, amends FARA to limit […]

On March 21, Senators Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton and Rep. Joe Wilson introduced a bill to limit exemptions for registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Senate Bill 2583, the Foreign Influence Transparency Act, amends FARA to limit the exemption from the registration requirements for persons engaging in activities in furtherance of bona fide religious, scholastic, academic, or scientific pursuits or the fine arts to activities which do not promote the political agenda of a foreign government.

The bill limits the existing registration exemptions by qualifying they apply “only if the activities do not promote the political agenda of a government of a foreign country.” The legislation also amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 by requiring the disclosures of foreign gifts and contracts over $50,000 made to universities.

“The goal of this legislation is to increase transparency between foreign governments, universities, and communities,” said Wilson in his press release.

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March 2, 2018 •

Foreign Agents Registration Amendments Act Introduced in US Senate

On March 1, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Included in the bipartisan bill, the Foreign Agents Registration Amendments Act, are the creation of an enforcement unit in the National […]

On March 1, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Included in the bipartisan bill, the Foreign Agents Registration Amendments Act, are the creation of an enforcement unit in the National Security Division and updates to civil and criminal enforcement procedures. The legislation also creates a definition for the term ‘‘operative of a foreign government.”

Additionally, the bill would call for self-identification of registered individuals when meeting with members of congress or their staff.

Specifically, the bill states, “It shall be unlawful for any agent of a foreign principal registered under [FARA] to fail to disclose before or during any meeting with a member of Congress or staff of a member of Congress that the agent has registered under [FARA].’’

The bill was introduced by Republican Senators Todd Young and John Cornyn and Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Jeanne Shaheen.

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