Introduction to FARA: Enforcement and Compliance

Once obscure, the Foreign Agents’ Registration Act (FARA), which governs foreign entities’ political activities in the United States and requires “foreign agents” to register with the Attorney General, is now a focus at the DOJ. In addition to the increased criminal cases, the last two years saw a rare civil case as well as a civil settlement that may set the stage for more to come. Registrations have steeply increased as well. The language of the statute, however, remains vague and hard to interpret. In this final installment of our series featuring former top FARA officials and current practitioners, we cover the enforcement process, including inquiry letters, civil and criminal actions, as well as compliance steps. The first article analyzed the history of the law, and covered its definitions and exemptions. In the second article, we discussed the new risk landscape, the downsides of registering, the utility of the DOJ’s advisory opinions and the DOJ’s enforcement priorities. See “CFIUS Expands Review Power to Some Non-Controlling Foreign Investment in U.S. Businesses” (Apr. 1, 2020).

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