WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to improve our nation’s ability to prevent foreign governments, including adversaries like the Chinese and Russian governments, from attempting to influence U.S. policy without making appropriate disclosures. The legislation would help prevent lobbyists working on behalf of foreign governments and political parties from exploiting an existing Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) provision that exempts Lobbying Disclosure Act registrants who are agents of foreign persons or organizations from registering under FARA. Peters and Grassley introduced similar legislation that passed the Senate last Congress.
“We must work to address the serious national security threat posed by foreign influence in our nation’s political process,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan bill will increase transparency around foreign lobbying and ensure the federal government is working in the best interest of taxpayers.”
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant when it comes to the people’s business. We ought to always push for the greatest transparency possible, especially when it involves those trying to influence policy in our country on behalf of a foreign power,” said Senator Grassley. “I’m glad to once again join Senator Peters in this legislation that will ensure we know if someone is using their lobbying disclosure to exempt themselves from registering as a foreign agent.”
The Lobbying Disclosure Improvement Act would require Lobbying Disclosure Act registrants to indicate, as part of their registration, whether they are taking advantage of the FARA exemption. This would help the Department of Justice narrow the pool of Lobbying Disclosure Act registrants they are examining for potential violations, while not imposing any meaningful additional burden on registrants.