Friday, March 31, 2017

Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)

Michael Flynn's Attorney says the former National Security Adviser is in discussions with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the FBI, on receiving Immunity from "Unfair Prosecution" in exchange for questioning in the Russia investigation.

CLICK HERE to read the one page letter to Congress asking for Immunity.

I was interested in his failure to Register as a Foreign Agent and not reporting receing Foreign Money on his Security Questionnaire.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is a United States Law (22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq.) passed in 1938 requiring that Agents representing the interests of Foreign Powers in a "political or quasi-political capacity" disclose their relationship with the Foreign Government and information about related activities and finances. The purpose is to facilitate "evaluation by the Government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons." The Law is administered by the FARA Registration Unit of the Counterespionage Section (CES) in the National Security Division (NSD) of the United States Department of Justice.

In 1995, the term "Political Propaganda" was removed from Subsection 611 following the 1987 Supreme Court Case, Meese v. Keene, in which a California State Senator wanted to distribute three films from Canada about acid rain and nuclear war, but felt his reputation would be harmed if he distributed films that had been classified officially as "political propaganda". The Court backed up an earlier Lower Court Ruling in favor of one of the film's distributors in Block v. Meese. The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA), 2 U.S.C. § 1601, removed from the Act certain Agents engaged in Lobbying activities who register under that Act, which is administered by Congress.

In 2004, the Justice Department stated that the Foreign Agent Registration Unit's database for tracking Foreign Lobbyists was in disrepair.

In 2007, The Justice Department launched an Online Database which can be used by the Public to search filings and current reports.

Lobbyists for Foreign entities must submit Documents, including copies of the Contract, Informational Materials, and Draft Legislation or Talking Points, to the Department of Justice (DOJ), if two or more people are expected to see them.

The Documents have to be submitted within 48 hours of sending them, and new Contracts must be Registered within 10 days of signing them.

The Law provides a decent amount of “Personal Interpretation” about what triggers a Registration.

Loopholes range from Lobbyists who are “Promoting Policies that are not intended to conflict with any existing U.S. Domestic or Foreign policies,” if the Informational Materials are “’believed’ by them ‘to be Truthful and Accurate,’” or the Lobbyist is representing the “Government of a Foreign Country the Defense of which the President deems vital to the Defense of the United States.”

Some FARA Contracts are not specifically focused on Lobbying Lawmakers, and aim to provide Public Relation Services or increase Business and Tourism to other Nations.

Enforcement actions are rare when FARA has been Violated. The Justice Department notes that “encouraging voluntary compliance” is the “cornerstone” of its Foreign Lobbying Enforcement efforts, simply asking people to file forms. There are only Criminal Punishments available for those who violate FARA, while no Civil Penalties exist, that require a higher burden of proof.

Congressional Committees rejects offer, wants a more detail Proffer before disusing granting the immunity.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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