Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved the Disclosing Foreign Influence Act (H.R. 4170) by a vote of 15-6. This bipartisan piece of legislation updates the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to improve the transparency and give enforcement authority to the Department of Justice.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.), chief sponsor of H.R. 4170, have issued the following statement:
Chairman Goodlatte: “The House Judiciary Committee voted today in favor of transparency and accountability. By closing the dangerous loopholes in the Foreign Agents Registration Act, this legislation gives the Department of Justice the crucial enforcement tools it needs to investigate foreign agents, identify fraud, and hold violators accountable. I appreciate all of the hard work that Representative Johnson has put into this bipartisan bill, and I urge my colleagues to support it.”
Representative Johnson: “The American people deserve to know when foreign nations lobby the United States government. We cannot continue the years of lax enforcement that have led to widespread abuse of our current laws and allowed foreign agents to withhold their affiliations and keep their efforts hidden. The Disclosing Foreign Influence Act solves this decades-old problem by ensuring transparency in the process and giving the Department of Justice the tools it needs to uphold this important law. Furthermore, this bill adequately protects U.S. business while reaffirming the intent of the statutes. I look forward to moving this critical, bipartisan bill through the House, the Senate and on to the president’s desk for signature.”
A 2016 OIG report regarding the Department of Justice (DOJ) National Security Division found that DOJ lacked a comprehensive enforcement strategy and the tools necessary to address abuse of foreign lobbying efforts. H.R. 4170 addresses the ambiguity in the existing law and increases transparency and oversight in DOJ enforcement efforts.