Bipartisan senators push new bill to improve foreign lobbying disclosures

Bipartisan senators push new bill to improve foreign lobbying disclosures
© Aaron Schwartz

Senators are making a bipartisan push to improve the foreign lobbying disclosure process.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators call for Barr to release full results of Epstein investigation Trump health official: Controversial drug pricing move is 'top priority' Environmental advocates should take another look at biofuels MORE (R-Iowa) on Monday introduced legislation that would give the Justice Department more tools to investigate possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a 1938 statute that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have characterized as outdated and weak.

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The measure — co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSunday shows - Recession fears dominate Lewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Lewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel MORE (N.H.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTrump administration urges Congress to reauthorize NSA surveillance program The Hill's Morning Report - More talk on guns; many questions on Epstein's death Juan Williams: We need a backlash against Big Tech MORE (Calif.), along with GOP Sens. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy O'Rourke says he will not 'in any scenario' run for Senate MORE (Texas), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (Fla.) and Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungOvernight Defense: Senate fails to override Trump veto on Saudi arms sales | Two US troops killed in Afghanistan | Senators tee up nominations, budget deal ahead of recess Senate fails to override Trump veto on Saudi arms sale GOP chairman yanks Saudi bill after Democrats muscle through tougher language MORE (Ind.) — would allow the Justice Department to increase the penalties for people who fail to properly register as a foreign agent.

It also would require the Government Accountability Office to study whether and to what extent the Lobbying Disclosure Act exemption is being abused to conceal foreign lobbying activity.

Foreign lobbying has been in the national spotlight since special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE obtained guilty pleas under FARA from two prominent Trump 2016 campaign aides — Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrial of ex-Obama White House counsel suddenly postponed Top Mueller probe prosecutor to join Georgetown Law as lecturer DOJ releases notes from official Bruce Ohr's Russia probe interviews MORE and Richard Gates — over their lobbying work on behalf of pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.

Grassley has been one of the loudest voices calling for changes to foreign lobbying rules.

Grassley introduced the Disclosing Foreign Influence Act with Rep. Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonConservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess Nadler shuts down Republican point of order after impeachment question Live coverage: Mueller testifies before Congress MORE (R-La.), which focused mainly on the Lobbying Disclosure Act, in the previous Congress.

Shaheen and Young have teamed up on two similar bills — one to give the Justice Department new authority to investigate potential violations and another, with Feinstein and Cornyn, to strengthen FARA.