Tags: Russia Probe | rober mueller | special counsel | foreign lobbying | fara

Mueller Probe Fuels Crackdown on Foreign Lobbying

robert mueller speaks and gestures with four fingers of his left hand while tilting his head slightly to right
Special counsel Robert Mueller (Evan Vucci/AP)

By    |   Monday, 31 December 2018 10:51 AM

Special counsel Robert Mueller's uncovering of numerous alleged criminal acts linked to violations of what, until last year, was an obscure law governing foreign lobbying has had a chilling effect in Washington among lobbyists and consultants, The Hill reported Monday.

In addition to Mueller obtaining guilty pleas under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) from two of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign aides, he has also referred cases falling outside his mandate to other U.S. prosecutors during his now 19-month investigation.

"When you become ground zero for what America is angry about . . . anything can happen," said one lobbyist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Hill. "All it takes is a couple of scandals."

FARA was passed in 1938 to ensure transparency of foreign influence in the American political process due to fears over Nazi and communist propaganda. It has been amended twice since then but is basically the same law.

Until the Mueller probe, criminal prosecutions under the law had been relatively few.

Reflective of this was a Justice Department Inspector General report released just two months before the 2016 presidential election concluding the department lacked a "comprehensive" strategy to enforce FARA.

But now Mueller's probe has given federal prosecutors momentum to litigate alleged violations.

His investigation has thrown a spotlight on foreign lobbying activities that is unlikely to diminish even after his probe has finished, with some congressmen pushing for legislation they insist would strengthen FARA and prevent individuals from exploiting loopholes in the law.

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An obscure law governing foreign lobbying has been dusted off by special counsel Robert Mueller's uncovering of numerous alleged criminal acts, which has had a chilling effect in Washington among lobbyists and consultants, according to The Hill.
rober mueller, special counsel, foreign lobbying, fara
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2018-51-31
Monday, 31 December 2018 10:51 AM
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