Two Russian FARA-Related Cases Still Pending

Two federal cases charging violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) by Russian companies and individuals alleged to have acted as unregistered foreign agents to interfere in the 2016 and 2018 elections are still pending. The cases are part of a larger effort by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”)…

Former Michael Flynn Associate Convicted Under FARA

On July 23, a federal jury convicted Bijan Rafiekian (also known as Bijan Kian), a former business partner of Michael Flynn, of acting as an unregistered foreign agent in the U.S., conspiracy to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and conspiracy to make willful and material false statements and…

NDAA Carries New Disclosure Requirements for U.S.-Based Foreign Media Outlets

As part of a continuing push to address foreign influence in the United States, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) enacted on August 13, 2018, includes new disclosure requirements for foreign-affiliated media companies operating in the United States. A public notice issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on September…

Could The Fugees’ Pras Michel Be Charged with a FARA Violation?

Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, a member of the 1990s musical group The Fugees, was indicted earlier this month for violating federal campaign finance and tax laws.  The charges stemmed from Pras allegedly making $865,000 worth of illegal “straw donations” through a network of 20 people to the 2012 Obama presidential campaign…

DOJ Wins First FARA Civil Enforcement Case Since 1991

On May 6, 2019, the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida ruled in favor of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in a proceeding that involved a Florida broadcasting company named RM Broadcasting, which contended it should not be required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) as a…

Recent Developments in Florida Broadcasting Company’s Suit Against DOJ Over FARA Registration Requirement

A Florida-based broadcasting company filed suit last year against the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), claiming it should not be required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”). The company, RM Broadcasting, broadcasts the radio channel Sputnik, whose parent company, Rossiya Segodnya, is owned and operated by the Russian…

DOJ’s Push to Register State-Run Media Under FARA

The Justice Department (DOJ) has stepped up enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) in recent years and has put much of its more recent focus on pressing Chinese and Russian state-run media companies to register as foreign agents under the Act. FARA requires an “agent of a foreign…

DOJ National Security Division Announces Significant Appointment and Shift on FARA Enforcement

DOJ National Security Division Announces Significant Appointment and Shift on FARA Enforcement U.S. Department of Justice official John C. Demers, who heads the Department’s National Security Division, announced yesterday that Brandon Van Grack will now lead the team that enforces the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”).  Mr. Demers described the…

Recent Developments in FARA: Michael Cohen Hearing

Michael Cohen’s testimony on February 27, 2018 before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform featured several heated exchanges, including one particular line of questioning about the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) from Mark Meadows (R-NC). Congressman Meadows suggested during the hearing that Mr. Cohen’s work for several foreign…

Updates on Congressional Action on FARA Reform

Amid high-profile cases involving the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”), some Members of Congress have expressed increased interest in improving transparency and enforcement of FARA. Their efforts have thus far stalled, but the landscape could be shifting toward reform.  Here are notable pieces of legislation and other congressional actions to…