WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) to increase transparency around foreign lobbying, shine a light on efforts by foreign adversaries to influence our public policy, and ensure the government is working in the best interest of the nation has advanced in the Senate. Peters’ bill closes a loophole in the Lobbying Disclosure Act that foreign adversaries – including the Chinese government – frequently exploit to conceal their roles in lobbying efforts. The bill was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee where Peters serves as Chair.
“Lobbying efforts by foreign adversaries, including the Chinese and Russian governments, to influence our policy pose a serious risk to communities across the nation,” said Senator Peters. “Now that this commonsense, bipartisan bill has passed the Committee, I will urge my colleagues to pass it out of the Senate quickly so we can ensure our government is working in the best interest of the taxpayer and improve transparency into foreign lobbying activities.”
Federal lobbying law requires both lobbyists and the organizations that retain them to register their activities with the government to provide transparency in policy influence efforts. However, think tanks and law enforcement agencies have identified instances in which foreign adversaries, including the Chinese government, have used closely-connected organizations and businesses to push their interests when lobbying the U.S. government. The company, which may be registered under the law, effectively becomes a proxy for the government or political party, which is not registered.
The Disclosing Foreign Influence in Lobbying Act makes clear that lobbying organizations must disclose when foreign governments and political parties participate in the planning, supervision, direction or control of their lobbying efforts, regardless of any financial contribution to the lobbying effort.