Posts Tagged ‘FARA registration’

Compliance Q and A: LDA vs. FARA

Thursday, October 28th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Q:  What is the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and what are the differences in registration and reporting between FARA and the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA)?

A:  The Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (as amended) requires any lobbyist who represents a foreign government, elected official or political party as a foreign agent to file his financial information and published materials with the Department of Justice. This only applies to foreign public officials; lobbyists representing foreign private companies register under the LDA. See the full text of the law, forms, and other disclosure requirements at

On registration and reporting:

  1. The Act requires every agent of a foreign principal, not otherwise exempt, to register with the Department of Justice and file forms outlining its agreements with, income from, and expenditures on behalf of the foreign principal. These forms are public records and must be supplemented every six months.
  2. The Act also requires that informational materials (formerly propaganda) be labeled with a conspicuous statement that the information is disseminated by the agents on behalf of the foreign principal. The agent must provide copies of such materials to the Attorney General.
  3. Any agent testifying before a committee of Congress must furnish the committee with a copy of his most recent registration statement.
  4. The agent must keep records of all his activities and permit the Attorney General to inspect them.

According to guidance issued by the House Ethics Committee, the technical amendments to the LDA made in 1998 reflected a determination that the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) standards are appropriate for lobbying on behalf of foreign governments and political parties, but that LDA disclosure standards should apply to other foreign lobbying. An agent of a foreign commercial entity is exempt under FARA if the agent has engaged in lobbying activities and registers under the LDA. An agent of a foreign commercial entity not required to register under the LDA (such as those not meeting the de minimis registration thresholds) may voluntarily register under the LDA.

Information for today’s post is from the Department of Justice, with further information condensed from the Lobbying Compliance Handbook, now with an all-new chapter on Campaign Finance for Lobbyists.

Have a question for Compliance Q &A? Send your questions to

FARA Thee Well

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 by Vbhotla

In light of the recent arrests of eleven individuals accused of spying for the Russian government, Lobby Blog thought this would be as good a time as ever to review the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was passed prior to World War II in response to Nazi propaganda in the United States. Nowadays, FARA applies to individuals and organizations engaging in political activities for a foreign principal, working in public relations for a foreign principal, buying or selling something of value in the United States, and lobbying the U.S. government on behalf of a foreign principal.

If you don’t register, you could be a spy.  But you’d be the kind that goes to jail, not the cool Jason Bourne kind.

So just who is a foreign principal?  Foreign principals can include foreign governments, foreign political parties, persons located outside of the United States, and foreign entities.

Anyone needing to register under FARA should be aware of the different forms required.

  • Registration Statement: The initial form filed at the organization level.
  • Supplemental Statement: A six month report form filed at the organization level.
  • Short-Form Registration Statement: Each individual appearing on a registration statement must file his/her own short-form registration statement.

So, if your relationship with a foreign principal doesn’t involve placing garbage bags full of classified information underneath park bridges in Northern Virginia, make sure to file your FARA forms.  And if it does, consider activating the Cone of Silence.