WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Congressmen Ken Buck (R-CO-4) and Ro Khanna (D-CA-17) introduced the Foreign Agents Registration Modernization Act (FARM) today. The FARM Act would strengthen the outdated Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.
“Transparency is a vitally important to a functioning democracy,” Senator Lummis said. “It’s essential that we know who is lobbying our elected officials, and which governments are paying them to do so. It’s the 21st century and we need to update our systems in order to protect our nation’s public policy from undisclosed foreign influence.”
“America is in a clash of civilizations with foreign kleptocrats and criminals who use secret channels of influence,” Senator Whitehouse said. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant, which is why I’m glad to join this bipartisan effort to modernize FARA and shine the light of transparency on foreign interests.”
“The American people deserve to know how foreign countries are attempting to influence our government,” Rep. Buck said. “Due to loopholes in the law and an outdated filing process, the public is left in the dark.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, Sen. Lummus, Sen. Whitehouse and I as cosponsors of this important legislation.”
“Every American should be able to easily search for within a few minutes which foreign governments are paying lobbyists to influence our elected leaders,” Rep. Khanna said. “FARA records have exposed the massive Saudi lobbying campaign against my legislative efforts to end US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. In the 21st century, everyone should have easy access to this info, and it shouldn’t take a research team to dig through cumbersome FARA filings.”
Current law requires any individual who is engaging in political work on behalf of a foreign government to register as a foreign agent and biannually report on their activities. Under the FARM Act, the Department of Justice would have to create an electronic database of foreign agents readily accessible and searchable by the American public.
The bipartisan bill was originally introduced last Congress in the House by Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA).
To read the FARM Act, click here.