Legal statute requiring those persons lobbying on behalf of a foreign government or other entity to register such with the U.S. government.
Folks like Mike Flynn and Jared Kushner ran afoul of this law during their time in the US government.
History of FARA
The Foreign Agents Registration Act, often abbreviated as FARA, is a United States law passed in 1938. The purpose of FARA is to ensure that the U.S. government and the people of the United States are informed about the source of information (propaganda) and the identity of people trying to influence U.S. public opinion, policy, and laws on behalf of foreign principals.
The Act requires every person who acts as an agent of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal. This includes 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 statements and activities of such persons.
The Act is administered and enforced by the FARA Unit of the National Security Division (NSD) of the United States Department of Justice.
FARA does not restrict publishing of materials or viewpoints; rather, it requires agents representing the interests of foreign powers to disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances.
Originally, FARA was passed in 1938 in response to concerns about German propaganda agents in the United States in the years leading up to World War II, but its usage has evolved over time. The Act has been amended several times, most significantly in 1966 when its scope was narrowed to focus more specifically on agents working in a political context.
Non-compliance with FARA has become a more prominent issue in recent times, with several high-profile investigations and prosecutions related to the Act. The Act received significant media attention during and after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, when it was invoked in investigations related to foreign interference in the election — particularly Russian election interference.
More on FARA
Learn more about FARA from the Department of Justice.