The Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) has been amended 12 times since its original passage in 1938.  Some amendments have been drastic overhauls, while others have included only minor tweaks.  Each iteration of FARA is described below as a resource to assist practitioners, journalists, and academic researchers.

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 75-583, 52 STAT. 631-633 (1938)

  • Summary: The original version of FARA laid the groundwork for the modern Act.  It proclaimed a purpose targeted at foreign propagandists in the United States, and tasked the Secretary of State with managing the foreign agent registration program.  The statute defined “foreign principal” and “agent of a foreign principal” for the first time, and created a registration requirement along with provisions for information to be included in the registration form.  The law also required regular reporting by foreign agents, and set criminal penalties for willful failure to file or material false statements or omissions.
  • Highlights
    • Defined FARA’s statutory purpose as “[a]n Act to require the registration of certain persons employed by agencies to disseminate propaganda in the United States and for other purposes”
    • Provided a Definition Section (Section 1)
      • “Foreign principal”
        • Government or political party of a foreign country
        • Person domiciled abroad
        • Any foreign business, partnership, association, corporation, or political organization
      • “Agent of a foreign principal”
        • Any person who acts or agrees to act as a public relations counsel, publicity agent, agent, servant, representative, attorney
        • For a foreign principal or domestic organization subsidized in whole or in part by a foreign principal
        • Exceptions to the “agent” defintion for: (1) accredited diplomatic or consular officer recognized by the State Department; and (2) any other non-covered person performing private, non-political, or other business activities in furtherance of “bona fide trade or commerce”
    • Set Forth a Registration Requirement (Section 2)
      • Registration statement filed with the Secretary of State under oath
      • Registration statement required to include, among other things, a copy of any agreement between the principal and agent (and a full statement of the terms of any oral contract), compensation information, and a copy of the registrant’s organizational documents
    • Set Forth a Regular Reporting Requirement (Section 3)
      • Report is filed under oath with the Secretary of State every six months
      • Report required to include information related to compensation and activities during the six-month reporting period
    • Provided for Maintenance and Public Availability of Records (Section 4)
      • Mandated that Secretary permanently retain all statements filed and make all records open to public examination at reasonable hours
    • Penalized Non-Compliance, Misstatements, and Willful Omissions (Section 5)
      • Stipulated “willfulness” standard for failure to file
      • Specified that false statement of material facts were a violation
      • Imposed fines of up to $1,000, 2 years imprisonment, or both, for FARA violations
    • Authorized Secretary of State to Issue Regulations (Section 6)

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 76-319, 53 STAT. 1244-1246 (1939)

  • Summary: This first set of amendments to FARA, which were enacted in 1939, expanded the definitions of “foreign principal” and “agent of a foreign principal.” They also expanded the list of individuals exempted from the law’s registration requirements, exempting recognized staff of foreign governments and those engaged only in “religious, scholastic, academic, scientific, or fine arts activities.”  Finally, the 1939 amendments allowed the Secretary of State to withdraw from public records the registration statements of individuals no longer covered by the Act.
  • Highlights
    • Amended Key Statutory Definitions (Section 1)
      • Changed the phrase “‘foreign principal’ means” over to “‘foreign principal’ includes” (emphasis added)
      • Added to the list in the “foreign principals” definitions any domestic organization subsidized in any way by a qualifying “foreign principal,” which was originally included in the definition of “agent of a foreign principal”
      • Amended the definition of “agent of a foreign principal” to remove a provision about domestic organizations subsidized by a foreign principal (moved to the “foreign principal” definition, see above) and then add “any person who receives compensation from or is under the direction of a foreign principal”
      • Listed new exceptions to the “agent of a foreign principal” definition, including: (1) a standalone exception for diplomatic or consular officer recognized by the Department of State; (2) an exception for any official of a recognized foreign government, except public relations officials and U.S. citizens, whose status and duties are recorded by the State Department; (3) an exception for diplomatic and consular staff, except public relations officials and U.S. citizens, whose status and duties are recorded by the State Department; (4) a standalone exception for any person performing private, non-political, or other business activities in furtherance of “bona fide trade or commerce”; and (5) an exception for any person engaging only in religious, scholastic, academic, scientific, or fine arts activities
    • Made Minor Technical Edits to Reporting Requirements (Section 3)
    • Allowed the Secretary of State to Withdraw from Public Records the Registration Statements of Persons Whose Activities are No Longer Covered by the Act (Section 4)

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 77-532, 56 STAT. 248-258 (1942)

  • Summary: The 1942 Amendments to FARA were comprehensive set of changes, adding a number of new sections and sub-sections, arranging the Act into the structure it currently employs, and giving FARA its current name.  Crucially, the 1942 Amendments shifted administration of the program from the Secretary of State to the Attorney General.  They also established a new set of registration, filing, and disclosure requirements for individuals disseminating “political propaganda” on behalf of “foreign principals.”  The 1942 Amendments increased maximum penalties for violations to a possible $10,000 fine and 5 years in prison, and provided for deportation of aliens who violated the Act.  Among other notable changes in the 1942 Amendments was the creation of the Act’s policy and purpose statement, espousing a goal of protecting national security and foreign relations by requiring foreign agents to publicly identify themselves as such.  The Amendments also expanded the definitions of “foreign principal” and “agent of a foreign principal,” while creating exemptions from the registration requirement for domestic journalists.  They expanded the information required to be disclosed in the registration statement, and authorized the Attorney General to require more frequent reporting. Additionally, the 1942 Amendments moved the pre-existing exemptions to a new Section and made changes to the coverage of those exemptions.  The Amendments required foreign agents to preserve their records and enumerated the Attorney General’s responsibilities to make records public.  Additionally, the new law made all officers and directors liable for violations by entities they lead or direct.  Finally, the 1942 Amendments created a Congressional reporting requirement and declared that its provisions were separable.
  • Highlights
    • Amended Key Statutory Definitions (Section 1)
      • Expanded coverage of “person” to include “any other combination of individuals”
      • Changed the list of individuals and entities qualifying as a “foreign principals,” including: (1) the addition of an individual associated with, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized by a foreign government and a foreign political party; (2) the addition of “a person outside of the United States,” except for a citizen or organization domiciled in the United States; (3) the expansion of the list of entities to cover “a partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of individuals” organized or with a principal place of business in a foreign country; (4) the inclusion of a “domestic partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of individuals” subsidized by a “foreign principal”
      • Defined “government of a foreign country” to include any persons “exercising de facto or de jure political jurisdiction over any country, other than the U.S.” as well as political subdivisions exercising sovereign functions and insurgents assuming to exercise governmental authority, regardless of whether recognized by the U.S.
      • Defined “foreign political party” to be any organization/combination outside of the U.S. aiming or acting to control or influence a foreign government or subdivision
      • Altered the definition of “agent of a foreign principal”
        • Changed “the term . . . means” to “the term . . . includes” (emphasis added)
        • Added to the list of “agent” roles: (1) “information-service employees”; (2) any person who collects information for or reports information to a “foreign principal”; (3) any person who solicits, disburses, dispenses, or collects money/loans/anything of value for a “foreign principal”; (4) any person who assumes or purports to act in the U.S. as a foreign “agent”; (5) a military employee or any other officer or employee of a foreign principal
        • Exempted from the definition of “agent” those working for domestic news and press outlets
      • Defined the terms “public relations counsel,” “publicity agent,” and “political propaganda” for the first time
      • Expanded definition of “United States” to include all states, all territories, the Panama Canal Zone, and “insular possessions” including the Philippine Islands, and “all other places now or hereafter subject to the civil or military jurisdiction” of the United States
    • Transferred Primary Responsibility for the Act Over to the Attorney General (Section 2 and Other)
      • Required filers to submit disclosures to the Attorney General (rather than the Secretary of State), which would then transmit them to the Secretary of State for comment
      • Gave authority to the Attorney General to receive reports and enforce the Act
      • Transferred all property, books, records, appropriations, and authorities available to the Secretary of State for carrying out the functions of the Act over to the Attorney General
    • Reshaped Registration and Reporting Requirements (Section 2)
      • Reframed the registration requirement under FARA as a prohibition on acting as a foreign “agent” without filing a registration statement or qualifying under an exemption
      • Expanded the required disclosures for “agents” to include more information about their locations, preexisting business activities, employee/officers/directors, and national origin
      • Expanded the required disclosures for “foreign principals” to include more information about their locations, preexisting business activities, employee/officers/directors, and affiliations with foreign governments or political parties
      • Increased scope of disclosure requirements for contracts with, payments from, and disbursements on behalf of “foreign principals”
      • Gave the Attorney General authority to require other “statements, information, or documents”
      • Required FARA registrants to provide notice within 10 days of any changes to previously reported contracts and activities
      • Clarified that the filing of a registration or other report did not necessarily constitute full compliance with the Act, indicate the Attorney General’s passage on the merits of a filing, or preclude the filer from future prosecution
    • Consolidated Most Registration Exemptions in a Dedicated, Standalone “Exemption” Section and Added New Registration Exemptions (Section 3)
      • Moved existing registration exemptions from the definitional section of FARA to a new standalone section dedicated specifically to exemptions
      • Created a new exception for aiding in the solicitation of funds “to relieve human suffering”
      • Added, subject to several stipulations, a new exception for publicly recognized U.S. allies “the defense of which the President deems vital to the defense of the United States”
      • Limited the scope of existing exemptions for diplomatic officers, foreign-government officials, and diplomatic staff
    • Instituted New Filing and Labeling Requirements for “Political Propaganda” (Section 4)
      • Required registered “agents” to do the following within 48 hours of distributing any “political propaganda”: (1) send two copies of the materials to the Librarian of Congress; and (2) file one copy of the materials with the Attorney General, accompanied by a statement setting forth the places, times, and extent of the distribution
      • Stipulated that the two copies of “political propaganda” sent to the Librarian of Congress must be made available for public inspection
      • Required registered “agents” to place specific disclaimer language on any “political propaganda” they disseminated, which was to include: (1) a statement that the person transmitting the propaganda was a registered foreign agent; (2) the agent’s name and address; (3) the name and address of the agent’s “foreign principal”; (4) notice that the registration was on file with the Department of Justice; (5) notice that the registration did not indicate U.S. government approval; and (6) any other language prescribed by the Attorney General
    • Imposed New Recordkeeping Requirements on Registered “Agents” (Section 5)
      • Required registered “agents” to keep records of activities while acting as a foreign agent for three years
      • Empowered the Attorney General to determine what records must be kept
      • Mandated that registered “agents” would open these required records for inspection by any official charged with enforcement of the Act
      • Prohibited willful destruction, concealment, falsification, etc. of any records required to be kept
    • Implemented New Public Records Rules for the U.S. Government (Section 6)
      • Required the Attorney General to maintain filings and “political propaganda” materials submitted under FARA
      • Declared that the Attorney General must make copies of filings and other materials available to the public for a “reasonable fee”
    • Established criminal liability for officers and directors of entities that register as a foreign “agent” (Section 7)
      • Specified that officers and directors of any entity to register as an “agent” under FARA had an affirmative obligation to cause the entity to comply with registration, reporting, recordkeeping, and other requirements imposed under FARA
    • Increased Penalties for FARA Violations (Section 8)
      • Transferred existing penalty provisions to a new section
      • Expanded prohibition to willful omissions of facts or documents necessary to prevent a report from being misleading
      • Increases maximum penalty up to a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years imprisonment (or both), which was previously just a $1,000 fine and up to 2 years imprisonment (or both)
      • Subjected any foreign national convicted of a FARA violation to deportation
      • Allowed the Postmaster General to declare as “non-mailable” certain “political propaganda” materials sent through the U.S. mail to certain Latin American countries (referred to as states in the “American republic” as defined in Section 1)
    • Defined Geographic Application of FARA (Section 9)
      • Specified that FARA applied to all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, all U.S. territories and insular possessions, and anywhere else subject to U.S. civilian or military jurisdiction (Section 9)
    • Authorized the Attorney General to Make Rules Related to FARA (Section 10)
    • Required the Attorney General to Report to Congress (Section 11)
      • Required the Attorney General to submit reports “from time to time” that related to FARA administration, including “the nature, sources, and content of political propaganda disseminated or distributed”
    • Gave the Statute “The Foreign Agents Registration Act” as Its Title (Section 14)

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 81-642, 64 STAT. 399-400 (1950)

  • Summary: This short Amendment declared that failure to register under FARA was a continuing violation, and that termination of foreign agent activity does not relieve the agent of the obligation to register.
  • Highlights
    • Declared Failure to Register a Continuing Violation (Amendment to Section 2(a))
      • Established that failure to register under FARA was a continuing violation starting from the tenth day after qualifying as an “agent”
      • Stipulated that discontinuance of foreign “agent” activity does not relieve the agent of the registration requirement
    • Clarified the Scope of Officer/Director Liability (Amendment to Section 7)
      • Stated that the dissolution of an organization acting as a foreign “agent” does not relieve any officer or director of the obligation to ensure compliance with the registration, propaganda filing, and recordkeeping requirements of the Act

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 81-831 AT SECTION 20, 64 STAT. 1005 (1950)

  • Summary: This Amendment was enacted as part of the Internal Security Act of 1950, which was passed by Congress to combat the “Communist movement” in the United States. See § 2, 64 Stat. 987-99. The Act is alternatively known as the McCarran Act, and is codified at 50 U.S.C. § 781 et seq. This Amendment to FARA created a new foreign “agent” category for individuals with foreign espionage training (repealed six years later, see below) and declared that failure to file supplemental registrations was a continuing violation.
  • Highlights
    • Added to the Definition of Foreign “Agent” (Amendment to Section 1)
      • Added an additional definition of “agent of a foreign principal” for individuals who received espionage, counterespionage, or sabotage training from a foreign government or political party unless: (1) training was received pursuant to U.S. government service; (2) knowledge was obtained for purely academic or personal interest; or (3) the U.S. government was employing such person, the person has disclosed the training to the government, and the Attorney General or CIA Director determines that FARA registration should not be required for national security purposes
      • NOTE: This addition to the foreign “agent” definition was later repealed
    • Declared that Failure to File “Supplemental” Reports Was a Continuing Offense (Amendment to Section 8)

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 84-893, 70 STAT. 899 (1956)

  • Summary: This Amendment removed the recently enacted foreign espionage trainee definition of foreign agents from FARA, and instead created a separate registration regime for these individuals located within the Internal Security Act of 1950. See 50 U.S.C. §§ 851-52.  Although this Amendment repealed the first portion of § 20 of the 1950 Amendments that affected FARA, as discussed above, it left in place the provision that failure to file Supplemental reports under FARA is a continuing offense.
  • Highlights
    • Repealed the Definition of Foreign “agent” that Related to Espionage Trainees (Amendment to Section 1)
      • Created a new registration requirement (and definition) for espionage trainees under the Internal Security Act of 1950, rather than under FARA
      • Clarified that compliance with the new registration requirement for espionage trainees did “not relieve any person from compliance with any other applicable registration statute”

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 87-366, 75 STAT. 784 (1961)

  • Summary: This brief Amendment expanded the category of “foreign principal” to include domestic entities controlled or financed by a foreign government or political party.  It also narrowed the “bona fide trade and commerce” exception.
  • Highlights
    • Expanded the “Foreign Principal” Definition to Include More Domestic Entities (Amendment to Section 1)
      • Expanded the “foreign principal” definition to include domestic partnerships, associations, corporations, organizations, or other combinations “supervised, directed, controlled, or financed, in whole or in substantial part,” by a foreign government or foreign political party
        • NOTE: FARA’s “foreign principal” definition had previously included domestic entities subsidized by foreign governments or political parties, but had not specifically cover domestic entities controlled or supervised by foreign governments or foreign political parties
    • Narrowed the “Bona Fide Trade or Commerce” Exception (Amendment to Section 3)
      • Amended the prior statutory text, which read “Any person engaging or agreeing to engage only in private, nonpolitical, financial, mercantile, or other activities in furtherance of the bona fide trade or commerce of such foreign principal…” to read as follows: “Any person engaging or agreeing to engage only in private and nonpolitical financial or mercantile activities in furtherance or bona fide trade or commerce of such foreign principal…” (emphasis added)
        • NOTE: The phrase “private and non-political” was changed so that it simply modified “financial or mercantile activities” rather than embodying distinct grounds for an exception to the registration requirement
        • NOTE: The text that could be read to allow an exception for “other activities” in furtherance of “bona fide trade or commerce” was removed

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 89-486, 80 STAT. 244 (1966)

  • Summary: The 1966 Amendment is the last comprehensive set of changes to FARA.  It narrowed the definitions of “foreign principal” and “agent of a foreign principal” to focus the statute more intently on political activities and on actions benefitting foreign governments and foreign political parties.  It expanded the required disclosures in registrations, and gave the Attorney General more flexibility to create registration exemptions.  Additionally, the 1966 Amendment created a new exemption for attorneys representing a “foreign principal” before a court or federal agency under certain circumstances and required all “agents” to disclose the name of their “foreign principal” while appearing before a U.S. government official.  It created a class of prohibited activities subject to lesser penalties ($5,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment) and gave the Attorney General the authority to seek injunctions for violations of the Act, giving federal courts jurisdiction over (and requiring expedited consideration of) such requests.  It also prohibited foreign “agent” agreements from including contingent compensation.  Finally, the 1966 Amendment prohibited political contributions by foreign “agents” acting at the behest of any “foreign principal” (this particular provision was later repealed), and generally prohibited federal officials in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches from acting as foreign agents.
  • Highlights
    • Amended the Definition of “Foreign Principal” (Amendment to Section 1)
      • Consolidated “foreign principal” definition down to three subcategories: (1) “a government of a foreign country and a foreign political party”; (2) a person outside of the U.S., other than a U.S. citizen domiciled in the U.S.; and (3) “a partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of individuals” organized or with a principal place of business in a foreign country
      • Deleted three prior categories of “foreign principal” in previous version of statute: (1) an individual associated with, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized by a foreign government and a foreign political party; (2) a domestic entity subsidized by a “foreign principal”; and (3) a domestic entity directed or substantially controlled by a foreign government or political party
    • Amended the Definition of “Agent of a Foreign Principal” (Amendment to Section 1)
      • Consolidated the “agent” definition down to four categories: (1) any person who “acts as an agent, representative, employee or servant”; (2) any person who, while performing certain covered activities within the United States, acts at the order, request, or direction of a “foreign principal”; (3) any person who, while performing certain covered activities within the United States, acts at the order, request, or direction of any person “whose activities are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or [substantially] subsidized” by a foreign principal; and (4) any person who agrees, consents, assumes, purports, or holds himself out to be an “agent”
      • Added “political consultant” as a new component of the “agent” definition
      • Made a technical amendment to the “public relations counsel” component of the “agent” definition to clarify that the term covers only those who advise or represent a “foreign principal “in any public relations matter pertaining to” political or policy interests (emphasis added)
    • Defined “Political Activities” (Amendment to Section 1)
      • “Political activities” deems to include both dissemination of “political propaganda” and any other activity intended to influence a U.S. agency, federal official, or any other segment of the public regarding changes to domestic or foreign policies or advancing the political interests of a foreign country or foreign political party
    • Attempted to Broaden the “Commercial Activities” Exemption (Amendment to Section 1)
      • Creates new definitional subsection to further define the contours of the “bona fide trade and commerce” exception as applied to domestic individuals or entities by stating that activities are not deemed to serve a foreign interest if they also benefit a foreign parent or subsidiary entity engaged in bona fide trade or commerce, provided that: (1) the activities are not supervised, controlled, subsidized in whole or substantial part by a foreign government or foreign political party; (2) the identity of the “foreign principal” is disclosed to agency or federal official with whom the person interacts; and (3) when a domestic entity has a foreign parent, activities must be in furtherance of the bona fide commercial, industrial, or financial interests of the domestic entity
    • Altered the FARA Registration Process (Amendment to Section 2)
      • Changed the requirement that the Attorney General provide copies of registrations to the Secretary of State
      • Amended the list of required elements in a proper FARA registration to include additional detail about political activities, compensation, disbursements, and political contributions made by the “agent”
    • Created New Registration Exemptions (Amendments to Sections 2 and 3)
      • Authorized the Attorney General to exempt from registration: (1) registrations by partners, officers, directors, or employees already listed in the registration statement of another foreign agent; (2) any person for which the Attorney General determines that national security and public interest makes registration unnecessary to carry out the purposes of the Act
      • Exempted persons who engage in “activities not serving predominantly a foreign interest”
      • Exempted persons licensed to practice law engaging in legal representation of a foreign principal before a court or federal agency, provided that the lawyer makes no attempt to influence or persuade agency personnel beyond the ordinary course of agency proceedings
    • Clarified Existing Registration Exemptions (Amendment to Section 3)
      • Stated that activities in furtherance of “bona fide trade or commerce” must be “private and non-political”
      • Removed the phrase “financial or mercantile” from the “bona fide trade or commerce” exemption text
      • Expanded the “humanitarian” exemption to allow for the solicitation of funds for medical aid and assistance, food and clothing to relieve human suffering
    • Streamlined and Provided Additional Detail Related to “Political Propaganda” Requirements (Amendment to Section 4)
      • Clarified that the “political propaganda” labeling and filing requirements apply only to propaganda disseminated “for or in the interests of such foreign principal”
      • Removed the requirement for filers to submit two copies with the Librarian of Congress and instead instructed filers to submit two copies (up from one copy) with the Attorney General
      • Required the Attorney General to make copies of FARA filings publicly available
      • Added a labeling requirement to disclose the connection between the person disseminating the propaganda and the propaganda itself
      • Required registered “agents” to disclose their registration status prior to furnishing any “political propaganda” to any U.S. official and prior to requesting any political/policy information or advice, on behalf of a foreign principal, from any agency or official
      • Required registered “agents” who testify before Congress on behalf of a “foreign principal” to furnish a copy of his/her most recent registration statement
    • Altered Enforcement Penalties and Powers (Amendment to Section 8)
      • Created a class of violations subject to a lesser penalty by limiting the fine to $5,000 and imprisonment to 6 months in the case of: (1) failure to include required disclosures on propaganda; (2) failure to disclose foreign “agent” status to agency official or member of Congress when lobbying, requesting information, or testifying on behalf of the “foreign principal”; (3) continuing to act as a foreign “agent” or failing to amend registration after being notified by the Attorney General of deficient registration; and (4) entering a foreign “agent” contract involving compensation contingent on successful political activities
      • Allowed the Attorney General to apply to a federal district court for injunctive relief of current or future violations, which can take the form of a court order to enjoin violations, enjoin a person from acting as a foreign “agent,” and require compliance with a particular provision of FARA
      • Stipulated that injunction proceedings “shall be made a preferred cause and shall be expedited in every way”
    • Instituted Other Statutory Changes (Amendment to Section 5 and Other Laws)
      • Required disclosures of filer records to be made “in accordance with such business and accounting practices”
      • Prohibited foreign “agent” contracts from including express or implied compensation contingent on success of political activities
      • Authorized the Attorney General to notify non-compliant registrants of non-compliance in writing, at which point registrants have 10 days to file an appropriate amendment or stop acting as a foreign “agent”
      • Prohibited a foreign agent from knowingly making or soliciting a contribution in connection with an election while acting on behalf of a foreign principal
        • NOTE: This provision was located at 18 U.S.C. § 613 and repealed by the 1976 Federal Election Campaign Act amendments, Pub. L. 94-283
      • Prohibited federal officials in the executive, legislative, or judicial branches from acting as a foreign “agent”
        • NOTE: This provision was located at 18 U.S.C. § 219

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 91-375, 84 STAT. 773, 784 (1970)

  • Summary: This Amendment was part of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, which replaced the United States Post Office Department with the United States Postal Service.  This legislation’s impact on FARA was limited to two minor changes that ensure FARA’s references to the Postmaster General and the Post Office Department conform to the changes created by the Postal Reorganization Act.
  • Highlights
    • Amended Various Postal Reference in FARA
      • Amended a statutory reference in FARA to the postal provision requiring certain news organizations to register with the Postmaster General.
      • Replaced “Post Office Department” with “United States Postal Service” throughout FARA

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 98-620, 98 STAT. 3359 (1984)

  • Summary: As part of an omnibus law amending Title 28 of the United States Code (Federal Judiciary), the FARA provision requiring expedited federal consideration of petitions for injunctive relief under FARA was eliminated
  • Highlights
    • Eliminated Expedited Treatment of FARA Injunctive Relief Actions (Amendment to Section 8)
      • Removed provision in FARA that required injunctive relief filings under FARA in federal court to be a “preferred cause” and “expedited,” which was originally put in place with the 1966 Amendment

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 104-65, 109 STAT. 699, 700, 704 (1995)

  • Summary: This Amendment to FARA was included in the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.  The Lobbying Disclosure Act set up a parallel regime of lobbyist registration requirements, and exempted foreign agents required to register under that Act from the FARA registration requirements. The FARA-related changes replaced the term “political propaganda” with the term “informational materials,” eliminated certain requirements related to the distribution of those materials, clarified the meaning of the “legal representation” exemption, and adjusted the requirement for the Attorney General to report to Congress.
  • Highlights
    • Replaced the Term “Political Propaganda” with the Term “Informational Materials” and Changed Labeling/Filing Requirements (Amendment to Multiple Sections)
      • Throughout the statute, the term “political propaganda” was replaced by the term “informational material”
      • Removed requirement to file a statement setting forth the places, times, and extent of materials transmission
      • Replaced in the filing/labeling requirement a comprehensive list of required disclosures with the requirement of a “conspicuous statement” that the materials have been disseminated on behalf of a foreign principal and additional information is on file with the Attorney General
    • Altered the Available Registration Exemptions (Amendment to Section 3)
      • Clarified that the “legal representation” exemption allows for advocacy in “judicial proceedings, criminal or civil law enforcement inquiries, investigations, or proceedings, or agency proceedings required by statute to be conducted on the record”
      • Created a new FARA registration exemption for foreign agents who properly register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and who would be otherwise covered by FARA
    • Implemented Other Statutory Changes (Amendment to Multiple Sections)
      • Eliminated authority for the Postmaster General to declare materials “non-mailable”
      • Amended Attorney General’s Congressional reporting obligation to require a report on FARA administration every six months
      • Removed a definitional subsection related to the “bona fide trade or commerce” exemption

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 105-166, 112 STAT. 39 (1998)

  • Summary: This brief Amendment made a technical change to the exemption for those registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act
  • Highlights
    • Made a Technical Amendment to the “Lobbying Disclosure Act” Exemption (Amendment to Section 3)
      • In defining the persons who can avail themselves of the exemption, replaced “is required to register and does register” with “has engaged in lobbying activities and has registered”

 

 

PUBLIC LAW 110-18, 121 STAT. 749 (2007)

  • Summary: This Amendment was a provision in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 that required electronic filing and online availability of FARA registrations.
  • Highlights
    • Required Registration Forms to be Filed in Electronic Form
    • Required the Attorney General to maintain a free, searchable electronic database of registration statements and updates