The American Bar Association created a task force on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) made up of attorneys who deal with FARA related matters and inquiries. Yesterday, that task force released the report "FARA: Issues and Recommendations for Reform" which outlines in 53 pages the reforms they say are needed to fix the law.

Matthew Sanderson, editor of and co-leader of the Political Law Group at Caplin & Drysdale, services as the co-chair of the Task Force on Foreign Agents Registration Act. Below is the executive summary from the report.


The Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) has been in place since 1938.  During its eight decades of existence, the statute has been administered and enforced by different governmental bodies under varying arrangements.  Below is a description of FARA’s administration and enforcement from a historical perspective.

Initial FARA Enforcement at the Department of State (1938-1942)

As originally enacted in 1938, FARA tasked the Secretary of State with managing the foreign agent registration program.[1]  At the time, Secretary of State Cordell Hull opposed this statutory ...

A Department of Justice official confirmed yesterday that enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) is a “top priority” for the Department.  The remark was made by Brandon Van Grack, the Chief of the Department’s FARA Registration Unit, during a speech at the recent National Forum on FARA, a conference co-chaired by Caplin & Drysdale’s Matthew Sanderson.

Mr, Van Grack noted that “almost every single FARA statistic has risen exponentially since 2016,” including the number of FARA registrations filed and the number of FARA Advisory Opinions

Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, a member of the 1990s musical group The Fugees, was indicted earlier this month for violating federal campaign finance and tax laws.  The charges stemmed from Pras allegedly making $865,000 worth of illegal “straw donations” through a network of 20 people to the 2012 Obama presidential campaign on behalf of disgraced Malaysian financier Jho Low.  Pras also allegedly gave more than $1 million of Mr. Low’s money to an independent expenditure committee in his name and in the name of his company.  The effort was, according to the indictment, intended to ...

DOJ National Security Division Announces Significant Appointment and Shift on FARA Enforcement

U.S. Department of Justice official John C. Demers, who heads the Department’s National Security Division, announced yesterday that Brandon Van Grack will now lead the team that enforces the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”).  Mr. Demers described the appointment as signaling a shift “from treating FARA as an administrative obligation and regulatory obligation to one that is increasingly an enforcement priority.”

This announcement is the prosecutorial ...

Michael Cohen’s testimony on February 27, 2018 before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform featured several heated exchanges, including one particular line of questioning about the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) from Mark Meadows (R-NC). Congressman Meadows suggested during the hearing that Mr. Cohen’s work for several foreign companies obligated him to register under FARA, which he then followed-up with a criminal referral to the Department of Justice that reportedly asserted Mr. Cohen should have registered his representations under FARA ...

The Department of Justice recently announced a landmark settlement agreement with the prominent law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.  Skadden acknowledges in the agreement that it should have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) for its work on behalf of the Government of Ukraine.  The agreement also, among other things, requires Skadden to file a late FARA registration, disgorge $4.6 million to the U.S. Treasury, and implement “formal, robust procedures” to ensure FARA compliance.

This Skadden settlement is the first of its kind in ...

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) is arguably more prominent now than at any point in its 80-year history.  What is FARA?  What are the key concepts and exemptions contained in the statute?  What are FARA’s enforcement standards?

Find out in our brief plain-language guide on FARA, which answers these and other questions in a concise resource for media and members of the public getting acquainted with FARA for the first time.  READ MORE
Offers Informational Resources to Researchers, Journalists, and Potential Foreign Agents

WASHINGTON, D.C. - January 22, 2019: Caplin & Drysdale's Political Law Group today announced the launch of a new website – – to serve as an informational resource to the regulated community and to journalists seeking a better understanding of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has increased its scrutiny of FARA compliance, as evidenced by its $4.6 million FARA-related settlement with prominent law ...

The Department of Justice’s FARA Registration Unit regularly issues what are called “Letters of Inquiry” when it believes an individual, company, non-profit, consultancy, or other party may need to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”).  Below are frequently asked questions about FARA Letters of Inquiry.

What gives rise to a Letter of Inquiry?

A Letter of Inquiry can be the result of a media article, a complaint or “tip” to the FARA Unit, a referral to the FARA Unit from another governmental body, or a review by the FARA Unit of public records and ...

Caplin &
Drysdale welcomes you to, which is a new informational resource for the
regulated community about the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”).  This site is the first online resource to
provide detailed summaries of advisory opinions issued by the Department of
Justice’s FARA Unit, descriptions of major FARA enforcement cases, and a
comprehensive database of FARA’s legislative history materials all in a single
location. will also be
updated regularly to include FARA news and other information about the
law.  We hope that you will find it

An Informational Resource in a New Era of Foreign Agents Registration Act Enforcement.



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