Buck and Khanna Introduce Legislation to Modernize the Foreign Agents Registration Act
For Immediate Release
Friday, November 15, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) and Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation to bring transparency to foreign governments’ effort to influence U.S. policy.
The Foreign Agents Registration Modernization (FARM) Act of 2019 will bring the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) into the 21st century and ensure that the American people have the ability to hold their government accountable. The legislation requires all FARA filings be submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a digitized and easily searchable electronic format. The bill also calls on the Attorney General to work with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate to establish a centralized online database containing all FARA filings similar to the current database for domestic lobbying activities reported under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
Following introduction of the Foreign Agents Registration Modernization (FARM) Act of 2019, Congressman Ken Buck and Congressman Ro Khanna released the following:
“The American people deserve to know how foreign governments are attempting to influence our government. Due to loopholes in the law and an outdated filing process, the public is left in the dark. It’s time to bring the FARA filing system into the 21st century and ensure that Americans can review any and all efforts by foreign governments to influence our nation’s public policy. I encourage my colleagues to join Rep. Khanna and me as cosponsors of this important legislation,” said Rep. Ken Buck.
“Using 21st century technology, we have the opportunity to make our government easily accessible for every American,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “Particularly at a moment when our country is combatting foreign influence among our highest ranking public servants, the public has a right to know who is lobbying our government. The FARA exposed that the Saudis lobbied hard to defeat my Yemen War Powers Resolution. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Rep. Buck to bring even more transparency to our government and expose foreign money influencing our politics.”
Since 1938, Congress has required individuals engaged in political or advocacy work on behalf of a foreign government to register with the Department of Justice (DOJ) as an agent of a foreign nation, as defined by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Once an individual registers as a foreign agent, he or she is required to file a report every six months outlining their relationship to the foreign principal, any spending involved with their work, and their activities to influence U.S. policy. However, FARA filers are not currently required to submit their reports in a machine-readable, searchable, digitized format, which has created barriers that deny the American people the ability to hold foreign nations accountable. The American people deserve to know how foreign principals are attempting to influence our government and the policies that govern our nation.