Foreign Agents Registration Act
The The Foreign Agents Registration Act ('FARA) of 1938 imposes disclosure requirements and other legal obligations on any individual or entity that becomes an “agent of a foreign principal” unless an exemption applies.
FARA is a public-disclosure statute originally enacted as a legislative response to extensive foreign propaganda activities in the U.S. during the run-up to World War II, which included a 20,000-person rally held in Madison Square Garden. Congress hoped that, through FARA, the “spotlight of pitiless publicity [would] serve as a deterrent to the spread of pernicious propaganda.” FARA has since been amended 10 times, with the most significant overhaul occurring in 1966.
FARA defines “foreign principal” broadly to include:
Any foreign government; Any foreign political party; Any association, corporation, organization, or “combination of persons” that either was established under a foreign country’s laws or maintains its principal place of business in a foreign country; and Any individual outside the United States (other a U.S. citizen who is also domiciled in the U.S.). In other words, foreign government entities, political organizations, businesses, nonprofits, state-owned enterprises, and even individuals are all “foreign principals” under FARA.
FARA is codified at 22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq. and its implementing rules are located at 28 C.F.R. § 5.1 et seq. The Department of Justice, which enforces and administers FARA, has also issued advisory opinions and other guidance interpreting the law.