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FARA Enforcement

Obligations of an Agent for a Foreign Principal

An agent must register within ten days of agreeing to become an agent and before performing any activities for the foreign principal.  No person shall act as an agent of a foreign principal unless he/she has filed with the Attorney General a true and complete registration statement and supplements.  Unless he/she is exempt from registration under the provisions of this Act. 

Registration under the Act is accomplished by the filing of an initial statement together with the required exhibits and the filing of a supplemental statement at intervals of 6 months for the duration of the principal-agent relationship requiring registration.  No document required to be filed under the Act shall be deemed to have been filed unless it is accompanied by the applicable fee.

An agent must file with the Department of Justice any informational materials distributed on the behalf of the foreign principal to two or more persons in the United States within 48 hours of distribution.  The information materials must include a conspicuous statement that additional information is on file with the Department of Justice.

If an agent appears before any committee of Congress to testify in the interests of such foreign principal, they must furnish the committee a copy of the most recent registration statement filed with the Department of Justice. 

An agent of a foreign principal registered under this Act must keep and preserve while he is an agent of a foreign principal such books of account and other records with respect to all his activities, the disclosure of which is required under the provisions of this Act, in accordance with such business and accounting practices.  An agent of a foreign principal must keep and preserve all records for a period of three years following the termination of such status.  These books and records shall be open at all reasonable time to the inspection of any officials charged with the enforcement of this Act.  It shall be unlawful for any person willfully to conceal, destroy, obliterate, mutilate, or falsify, or to attempt to conceal, destroy, obliterate, mutilate, or falsify, or to cause to be concealed, destroyed, obliterated, mutilated, or falsified, any books or records required to be kept under the provisions of this Act.

See the Legal Authority page for more information on the Foreign Agents Registration Act and related regulations and statutes.

Enforcement and Penalties

Any person who willfully violates any provisions of this Act or any regulations thereunder, or in any registration statement or supplement thereto or in any other documents filed with or furnished to the Attorney General under the provisions of this Act willfully makes a false statement of a material fact or willfully omits any material fact required to be stated therein or willfully omits a material fact or a copy of a material document necessary to make the statements therein and the copies of documents furnished therewith not misleading, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five years.  For some offenses the punishment shall be a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

Any alien who shall be convicted of a violation of, or a conspiracy to violate, any provisions of this Act or any regulation thereunder shall be subject to deportation.

If the Attorney General determines that a registration does not comply with the requirements of this Act or the regulations issued thereunder, the Registration Unit shall notify the registrant in writing, specifying in what respects the statement is deficient. It shall be unlawful for any person to act as an agent of a foreign principal at any time ten days or more after receipt of such notification without filing an amended registration statement in full compliance with the requirements of this Act and the regulations issued thereunder.

Failure to file any such registration statement or supplements thereto as is required by the Act shall be considered a continuing offense for as long as such failure exists, notwithstanding any statute of limitation or other statute to the contrary. 

A public official of the United States in the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government or in any agency of the United States, including the District of Columbia, is or acts as an agent of a foreign principal required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 or a lobbyist required to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 in connection with the representation of a foreign entity, as defined in section 3(6) of that Act, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.

See the Legal Authority page for more information on the Foreign Agents Registration Act and related regulations and statutes.

Recent Cases

Former Congressman Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Justice, Acting as Unregistered Foreign Agent

IARA Fundraiser also Pleads Guilty to Conspiring with Former Congressman, Others (7/7/2010)

General Information National Security Division
 
Leadership
John P. Carlin
Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security
Contact
National Security Division
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