Tell Congress to Fix Foreign Lobbying Law

About this issue:

The recent revelations that President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, failed to disclose his lobbying work for a foreign government exposed major weaknesses in current foreign lobbying laws. But Flynn is only the latest example of how rarely the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is followed and enforced. Fixing FARA hasn't been a Congressional priority since the 1960s and the problems with the law have been ignored by both Democrat- and Republican-controlled Justice Departments.

It's time to fix foreign lobbying laws to address these systemic problems.

FARA is intended to make transparent how foreign governments try to influence US policies on everything from foreign aid to multi-billion dollar arms deals. The law requires American lobbyists representing those foreign governments to register their activities with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and submit regular documentation describing their activities.

But recent investigations by the Project On Government Oversight and the DOJ Inspector General have found that compliance with the law is unacceptably low and the public (and even Congress) generally remains in the dark about the extent foreign influence is in Washington.

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Sample Script:

Hello. My name is [your name] and I am a constituent from [your town].

I am calling to urge the Senator/Representative to make fixing the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) a priority.

This is a vital law that allows the American public to see how foreign governments try to influence US policy.

FARA needs to be made a Congressional priority and must be updated to reflect modern times.

Additional talking points you may wish to add before ending the call:

Michael Flynn is only the latest example of this problem. Foreign lobbyists often fail to follow the law, and the Department of Justice rarely enforces it.

We need strong Congressional oversight to ensure US foreign policy is not illegally influenced.

Give the DOJ the teeth it needs to effectively enforce FARA.