FOX NEWS, BROOKE SINGMAN
FIRST ON FOX: House China Select Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., is rolling out legislation with bipartisan support that would require people to retroactively register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) if they failed to do so while they were working for a foreign interest.
Gallagher’s legislation, the Retroactive Foreign Agents Registration Act, is aimed at making sure that people who flout current FARA requirements do not get away with working for a foreign entity without registering as such. Under his bill, people who failed to register as a foreign agent and have since stopped that work would still have to register to ensure their time as a foreign agent is reflected.
The bill comes after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling last year that said if someone stops acting as a foreign agent, they have no continuing obligation to register for their work as a foreign agent.
That ruling requires a judge to dismiss any case in which the Justice Department sues to require an unregistered foreign agent to register, as long as the person has stopped acting as a foreign agent. Lawmakers have said that ruling dealt a massive blow to the Justice Department’s ability to enforce FARA.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have argued that agents should have an ongoing obligation to register their conduct that covers the period in which they were foreign agents, and Gallagher’s legislation would make that a legal obligation.
Gallagher’s bill, if passed, would allow the attorney general to obtain a court order to require retroactive registration for foreign agents.
“Congress needs to restore FARA to its original, critical function after the DC District Court’s absurd ruling last October defanged the statute,” Gallagher told Fox News Digital. “At a time when the PRC and other adversaries are using foreign agents to mount influence campaigns and wantonly perpetrate transnational repression in our country, as an absolute baseline, we need to enforce FARA’s intended transparency standards in order to counter the CCP’s malign designs.”
The bill is cosponsored by Republican Reps. Chip Roy, Rob Wittman, Jim Banks, and Dusty Johnson; and Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger, Jamie Raskin, Mikie Sherill and Shontel Brown.
In the Senate, a companion bill is supported by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.