WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced legislation 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. 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.
“Attempts by our foreign adversaries, including the Chinese and Russian governments, to influence our political process through lobbying present a serious national security threat,” said Senator Peters. “This commonsense, bipartisan bill will increase transparency in foreign lobbying activities and ensure that our government is working in the best interest of people in Michigan and across the nation – not our foreign adversaries.”
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.