On Friday, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck and U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., introduced a bill to modify an 81-year-old set of rules regarding how foreign nationals can influence American policy.
The Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 required those from other countries who seek to perform political or advocacy work on behalf of their government in the U.S. to register as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice.
The congressmen’s new proposal, the Foreign Agents Registration Modernization Act would require digitized and electronically-searchable records be created.
There would also be a new database akin to the one that exists for American lobbyists because, they said in a statement, Americans should know how foreign nationals are trying to influence the work of the government.
“Due to loopholes in the law and an outdated filing process, the public is left in the dark. It’s time to bring the FARA filing system into the 21st century and ensure that Americans can review any and all efforts by foreign governments to influence our nation’s public policy,” Buck said.
The U.S. Department of Justice notes that FARA was a response to a “large number of German propaganda agents” in the United States before World War II.