Prepare for Big Changes to FARA Enforcement



In this article, Brian Fleming discusses the increasing relevance of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in U.S. politics and recent legislation designed to strengthen and expand FARA enforcement, including a September 2016 report on FARA enforcement from the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Office of the Inspector General, the July 2017 Senate Judiciary Committee on FARA oversight, and two recently introduced bills that would expand the DOJ's FARA enforcement mandate. "FARA was originally enacted to inform the American public about the ultimate sources of Nazi propaganda disseminated in the United States in the years just before World War II. Modern political influence doesn't come from flyers or leaflets; it comes in the form of tweets, blogposts and closed-door meetings," Fleming wrote. "Keeping the true foreign beneficiaries of such influence hidden from public view is a dangerous gambit with the potential to threaten the integrity of our political system. Potential FARA registrants owe it to themselves to weigh the consequences of less than full transparency when the current climate almost invariably demands more."