The Department of Justice is issuing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register to seek public comment to help inform the Department’s decision-making prior to its issuance of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Through this process, the Department is seeking preliminary input from the public on the regulations as a whole and in response to 19 specific questions set forth in the ANPRM.
FARA requires persons in the United States who are acting as agents of foreign principals and engaged in certain specified activities to make periodic public disclosures of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities. Disclosure of the required information facilitates evaluation by the government and the American people of the activities of such persons in light of their function as foreign agents. The act gives the Attorney General the authority to issue regulations, which were last amended in 2007.
“The effective and efficient enforcement of FARA is critical to facilitate transparency about foreign influence efforts and to support our democracy,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “We are pleased to begin the rulemaking process by soliciting input from the wide array of stakeholders in FARA, including public interest groups that rely on disclosures under FARA to support their mission.”
The Department is considering changes to key regulations, including those relating to the scope of agency; the commercial exemption; and exemptions for persons qualified to practice law as well as for those engaged only in religious, scholastic or scientific pursuits. The Department is also considering changes that would modernize its regulations relating to labeling informational materials in light of the significant technological changes that have occurred since the regulations were last amended more than a decade ago. Modernization of FARA’s implementing regulations will further facilitate the Department’s focus on FARA enforcement to ensure transparency in U.S. democratic processes.
The Department welcomes comments from attorneys practicing law in this area, public interest and transparency groups, and anyone else with an interest in the proper administration and enforcement of FARA’s disclosure and labeling requirements.
Please note: The text of the ANPRM, as signed by the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, has been posted to FARA.gov, but the official version of the ANPRM will be as it is published in the Federal Register.