- 2 U.S.C. § 1601, the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 focuses on those engaged in "lobbying activities" on behalf of domestic and foreign interests. FARA exempts those agents of foreign principals, other than agents of foreign governments and foreign political parties, who engage in "lobbying activities" and who register under the LDA.
- 18 U.S.C. § 219 is not a registration statute, but is a conflict of interest statute which makes it a criminal offense for a "public official" of the United States in the executive, legislative, or judicial branches to be or to act as an agent of a foreign principal required to register under FARA. This does not apply to special government employees who register under FARA and obtain certification from the head of the employing agency that such employment is required in the national interest.
- 18 U.S.C. § 951 is aimed at non-political activities, and requires all agents operating under the control of foreign governments or foreign officials, other than diplomats, to notify the Attorney General before acting. There is a limited exception for those engaged in legal commercial transactions. Registration under FARA serves as the requisite notification.
- 18 U.S.C. § 2386 requires registration by certain organizations which engage in political activity, civilian military activity, operate under foreign control, or have as their purpose to overthrow the government by force.
- 50 U.S.C. § 851 requires registration of persons who have knowledge of or have received instruction or assignment in espionage, counterespionage or sabotage service or tactics of a foreign country or foreign political party.
§ 951. Agents of foreign governments
(a) Whoever, other than a diplomatic or consular officer or attache, acts in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General if required in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(b) The Attorney General shall promulgate rules and regulations establishing requirements for notification.
(c) The Attorney General shall, upon receipt, promptly transmit one copy of each notification statement filed under this section to the Secretary of State for such comment and use as the Secretary of State may determine to be appropriate from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States. Failure of the Attorney General to do so shall not be a bar to prosecution under this section.
(d) For purposes of this section, the term "agent of a foreign government" means an individual who agrees to operate within the United States subject to the direction or control of a foreign government or official, except that such term does not include--
(1) a duly accredited diplomatic or consular officer of a foreign government, who is so recognized by the Department of State;
(2) any officially and publicly acknowledged and sponsored official or representative of a foreign government;
(3) any officially and publicly acknowledged and sponsored member of the staff of, or employee of, an officer, official, or representative described in paragraph (1) or (2), who is not a United States citizen; or
(4) any person engaged in a legal commercial transaction.
(e) Notwithstanding paragraph (d)(4), any person engaged in a legal commercial transaction shall be considered to be an agent of a foreign government for purposes of this section if--
(1) such person agrees to operate within the United States subject to the direction or control of a foreign government or official; and
(2) such person--
(A) is an agent of Cuba or any other country that the President determines (and so reports to the Congress) poses a threat to the national security interest of the United States for purposes of this section, unless the Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of State, determines and so reports to the Congress that the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States require that the provisions of this section do not apply in specific circumstances to agents of such country;* or
(B) has been convicted of, or has entered a plea of nolo contendere with respect to, any offense under section 792 through 799, 831, or 2381 of this title or under section 11 of the Export Administration Act of 1979, except that the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a person described in this clause for a period of more than five years beginning on the date of the conviction or the date of entry of the plea of nolo contendere, as the case may be.
* None as of 7-14-98.
§ 219. Officers and employees acting as agents of foreign principals
(a) Whoever, being a public official, 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 under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.
(b) Nothing in this section shall apply to the employment of any agent of a foreign principal as a special Government employee in any case in which the head of the employing agency certifies that such employment is required in the national interest. A copy of any certification under this paragraph shall be forwarded by the head of such agency to the Attorney General who shall cause the same to be filed with the registration statement and other documents filed by such agent, and made available for public inspection in accordance with section 6 of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended.
(c) For the purpose of this section "public official" means Member of Congress, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner, either before or after he has qualified, or an officer or employee or person acting for or on behalf of the United States, or any department, agency, or branch of Government thereof, including the District of Columbia, in any official function, under or by authority of any such department, agency, or branch of Government.