Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA)

The Foreign Agent Registration Act is a federal statute imposing criminal penalties for acting as the agent of a foreign government or “principal” without satisfying the registration and reporting requirements set forth in the Act.  It carries up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Decline and Rebirth of FARA

The original version of the Act was passed in in 1938 and was directed principally at the threat from Communist agents and Nazi sympathizers.  In later decades, the act fell into disuse and was largely forgotten by the law enforcement community.  According to the Washington Post, there were only seven FARA cases between 1966 and 2015.

However, the past several years have seen a revival of FARA cases in federal law enforcement, largely due to Independent Counsel Robert Mueller’s aggressive use of the statute.  In March of 2019, the Department of Justice announced it would step up it’s FARA enforcement.  Individuals and businesses engaged in international activities can expect vigorous FARA enforcement for the foreseeable future.

Our Firm’s Unique FARA Experience

Our law firm’s experienced FARA attorneys are some of the only legal professionals in the world with FARA experience that predates the Robert Mueller era.  In 2010 we negotiated a historically unique plea bargain for a Russian national charged with violations in highly publicized prosecution in the Southern District of New York.

As a result of our experience defending FARA charges, our lawyers have frequently been called upon to share our expertise, including recent appearances on BBC News and in CNN coverage.

FARA Compliance

The main takeaway from recent FARA developments is that individuals and businesses engaged in international activities need to take extra steps to ensure FARA compliance.

Our experienced FARA attorneys can help you decide whether there FARA requirements apply to you, and, if so, what steps are necessary to comply.

If you have further questions about how FARA might apply to your situation, please contact us.