FARA Enforcement

I. Criminal Penalties

Any person who willfully violates any provision of FARA or any regulation thereunder, or in any registration statement or supplement thereto or in any other document filed with or furnished to the Attorney General under the provisions of FARA willfully makes a false statement of a material fact or willfully omits any material fact required to be stated therein or willfully omits a material fact or a copy of a material document necessary to make the statements therein and the copies of documents furnished therewith not misleading, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five (5) years.  See 22 U.S.C. § 618(a).

For certain offenses involving the failure to properly label informational materials, provide adequate disclosure to Congress or a federal agency, or correct deficiencies in registrations, or entering into a contingent fee arrangement, the punishment shall be a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, or both. See 22 U.S.C. § 618(a).

Failure to file a registration statement or supplements thereto as required by FARA shall be considered a continuing offense for as long as such failure exists, notwithstanding any statute of limitation or other statute to the contrary. See 22 U.S.C. § 618(e).

II. Civil Enforcement

If the Attorney General determines that a person is engaged in or about to engage in any acts which constitute or will constitute a violation of any provision of FARA, or any regulations thereunder, or whenever any agent of a foreign principal fails to comply with FARA or the regulations thereunder, the Attorney General may make application to the appropriate United States district court for an order enjoining such acts or enjoining such person from continuing to act as an agent of such foreign principal, or for an order requiring compliance with any appropriate provision of FARA or regulations thereunder. The district court shall have jurisdiction and authority to issue a temporary or permanent injunction, restraining order or such other order which it may deem proper. See 22 U.S.C. § 618(f).

If the Attorney General determines that a registration does not comply with the requirements of FARA or the regulations issued thereunder, the FARA Unit shall notify the registrant in writing, specifying in what respects the statement is deficient. It shall be unlawful for any person to act as an agent of a foreign principal at any time ten (10) days or more after receipt of such notification without filing an amended registration statement in full compliance with the requirements of FARA and the regulations issued thereunder. See 22 U.S.C. § 618(g).

III. Restrictions on Public Officials

A public official of the United States in the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government or in any agency of the United States, including the District of Columbia, who is or acts as an agent of a foreign principal required to register under the FARA or a lobbyist required to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 in connection with the representation of a foreign entity, as defined in Section 3(6) of that Act, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both. See 18 U.S.C. § 219

See the Legal Authority page for more information on FARA and related regulations and statutes.

IV. REPORT A VIOLATION

If you believe an individual or entity is violating FARA or has an obligation to register, please contact the FARA Unit:

  • By E-mail: fara.public@usdoj.gov
  • By Phone: (202) 233-0776 / (202) 233-0777
  • By Correspondence
    FARA Unit
    National Security Division
    U.S. Department of Justice
    175 N Street, NE
    Constitution Square, Building 3 - Room 1.300
    Washington, DC 20002

Because investigations are confidential, the FARA Unit cannot provide updates on submissions it has received.

Updated April 25, 2019

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