Foreign Influence Laws in Australia and Israel

Just as the United States uses the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) to try to shed light on foreign influence in American politics, Australia and Israel have laws that attempt to ensure similar transparency in their own governments. Like FARA, Australia’s Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme (“FITS”) Act defines the “registrable…

DOJ Secures Guilty Plea From Hawaii Businesswoman For FARA Violation

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced on August 31, 2020, that a businesswoman who attempted to influence U.S. officials to drop civil forfeiture proceedings and a criminal investigation into the embezzlement of billions of dollars from a company wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia pleaded guilty to a violation…

Department of Education Launches Online Portal for Reporting of Foreign Gifts to American Universities

In line with its increased focus on foreign funding for U.S. universities, the Department of Education (DOE) launched a new online portal to facilitate reporting of foreign gifts and contracts valued at more than $250,000. Such reporting is required by Section 117 of the Higher Education Act. According to DOE,…

New FARA Advisory Opinions Highlight DOJ’s Broad Interpretation of Registration Obligations

Several newly-released advisory opinions on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) demonstrate the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) exceedingly broad view of the statute’s scope.  These opinions signal that organizations working with foreign entities may not be able to claim exemptions previously thought to apply to their work.  This latest guidance…

DOJ Provides Guidance on “Scope of Agency” under FARA

In an attempt to clarify the scope of the concept of “agency” in context of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”), the Department of Justice’s FARA Unit posted guidance earlier this month. In May, the FARA Unit posted an explainer on the scope of “agency” under FARA, stating a commitment…

Department of Education Provides Further Information on Reporting of Foreign Gifts to U.S. Universities

Following its collection of public comment on the reporting requirements for foreign gifts and contracts with American universities, the Department of Education (DOE) has released additional information on the requirements. Section 117 of the Higher Education Act requires that institutions report to the federal government any gift or contract with…

A History of the FARA Unit

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) has been in place since 1938.  During its eight decades of existence, the statute has been administered and enforced by different governmental bodies under varying arrangements.  Below is a description of FARA’s administration and enforcement from a historical perspective. Initial FARA Enforcement at the…

State Department Designates Chinese Media Outlets as “Foreign Missions”

In line with recent attempts to limit foreign influence in the United States, the U.S. State Department has designated five major Chinese state-run media companies as “foreign missions.” The Foreign Missions Act defines a foreign mission as an entity that is “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by a foreign government.[1]…

Department of Education Provides Clarity on Reporting of Foreign Gifts to U.S. Universities

The Department of Education (DOE) has provided clarity on the reporting requirements for foreign gifts to and contracts with American universities after stepping up its scrutiny of such funding. DOE’s increased concern with foreign funding for universities has led to the arrest of a Harvard professor, who is charged with…

Venture Capitalist Agrees to Plead Guilty to FARA Violations

On October 22, the Department of Justice filed criminal charges against Imaad Shah Zuberi, a Southern California venture capitalist, alleging violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) and other laws. Zuberi, who ran a venture capital firm called Avenue Ventures, has agreed to plead guilty to the charges. The…