May 20, 2021
Grassley Reintroduces the Foreign Agents Disclosure and Registration Enhancement Act
Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S.
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Reintroduces the Foreign Agents
Disclosure and Registration Enhancement Act
Thursday, May 20, 2021
The Foreign Agents Registration Act is a law
I’ve spoken about on this floor many times before.
core, the Foreign Agents Registration Act
brings transparency and accountability to foreign influence in our politics.
doesn’t prohibit activity. It requires those who
lobby on behalf of foreign governments and interests to register their
affiliations and activities with the Justice Department.
it requires lobbyists on K Street to disclose if they’re lobbying on behalf of
foreign governments and interests, it lacks the teeth necessary to enforce this
and its other requirements.
even more telling is the fact that it hasn’t been updated in the last 55 years.
I seek to change that by reintroducing the Foreign
Agents Disclosure and Registration Enhancement Act.
enacted, this legislation would grant the Justice Department new investigative
criminal and civil penalties for violations to deter abuse.
The bill appropriately limits who in the Justice Department
can use this authority, and provides essential due process protections. In
fact, it’s based on identical authorities in the False Claims Act, which for years has helped root out
waste, fraud and abuse.
And it tasks
the Government Accountability Office with studying whether, and to what extent,
the Lobbying Disclosure Act exemption
to FARA is being abused.
are the result of my oversight and policy work dating to 2015.
reforms are not partisan.
Congress, this was a bipartisan
Congress, not a single Democratic colleague would re-join me and my Republican
colleagues in cosponsoring this legislation even though they cosponsored it
will ask my Democratic colleagues, what happened?
December last year, I came to the floor for a live UC on this very same bill.
time, I had the support of the chairs and senior Democratic Senators of both
the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
changed between then and now?
compromises we hashed out no longer relevant now that power has changed hands?
should put it more bluntly: do my Democratic colleagues no longer care now that
the Trump administration isn’t in power?
the Trump administration I heard my Democratic colleagues speak loudly about
the risks of foreign influence and the Trump administration.
heard it. Trump. Russia. All day, every day.
about Biden and China? We all know about the links between the Biden family and
Chinese foreign nationals connected to the communist regime.
those links are real and proven unlike Trump and Russia.
Democrats want to be intellectually honest on the issue of foreign influence they’re
going to have to face the music on both sides of the political spectrum.
conducted oversight of the Foreign Agents
Registration Act without regard to power, party or privilege.
I raised concerns about work for
Ukrainians by Paul Manafort and the Podesta Group.
I raised concerns when the firm
behind the discredited Steele Dossier failed to register for its lobbying work
to repeal U.S. sanctions against Russia.
I subpoenaed Manafort to testify at
a Judiciary Committee hearing on lax FARA enforcement. I praised Mueller for
dusting off the law that had been ignored for so long.
remind my colleagues that we make laws to be equally enforced, no matter what
party is in power.
The Foreign Agents Registration Act isn’t a
right against left issue.
foreign influence, control and the preservation of our sovereignty.
our sovereignty we fail to exist as a nation.
Congress, Senator Menendez objected to my live UC, stating that any Foreign Agents Registration Act reform
should move through regular order.
waiting for that to happen.
forward to working with Senator Menendez and the Foreign Relations Committee.
some of your members were previous cosponsors to this bill and I’d love to have
them join me again.
issues with foreign influence in our political system aren’t going away.
fact, they’re only primed to get worse.
meantime, while partisan politics play out, the Foreign Agents Registration Act stands without necessary reforms.
strongly urge my Democratic colleagues to work with me and my Republican
co-sponsors to achieve much needed, meaningful reform to this very important