Legislation will Raise Awareness about Foreign Efforts to Influence U.S. Political Process
DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, reintroduced 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. The 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. Peters introduced similar legislation that passed the Senate last Congress.
“Adversaries could take advantage of loopholes in current lobbying regulations to advance agendas that are not in the best interest of Michiganders and the American people,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan bill will close these loopholes, increase transparency in foreign lobbying practices, and strengthen national security by blocking efforts by foreign adversaries to influence our political process.”
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.
As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has led several led efforts to ensure government is working in the best interest of Michiganders and the American people. Peters led long overdue reforms that were signed into law to strengthen protections for Inspectors General so they can conduct independent oversight to root out waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. His bipartisan bill to identify and mitigate potential conflicts of interest in federal contracting, which will help ensure the appropriate use of taxpayer funds, was also signed into law.