The Senate has passed a bipartisan bill authored by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to increase transparency around foreign lobbying, shine a light on efforts by foreign adversaries to influence our public policy, and ensure the government is working in the best interest of the nation. Peters' bill closes a loophole in the Lobbying Disclosure Act that foreign adversaries exploit to conceal their roles in lobbying efforts.
"By improving transparency about foreign lobbying activities, this bipartisan bill will help prevent foreign adversaries, including the Chinese and Russian governments, from influencing our political process and advancing agendas that run against the best interests of the American people," said Senator Peters. "Now that this important legislation has passed the Senate -- I urge my colleagues in the House to pass it as soon as possible."
Federal lobbying law requires both lobbyists and the organizations that retain them to register their activities with the government to provide transparency in policy influence efforts. However, think tanks and law enforcement agencies have identified instances in which foreign adversaries, including the Chinese government, have used closely-connected organizations and businesses to push their interests when lobbying the U.S. government. The company, which may be registered under the law, effectively becomes a proxy for the government or political party, which is not registered.
The Disclosing Foreign Influence in Lobbying Act makes clear that lobbying organizations must disclose when foreign governments and political parties participate in the planning, supervision, direction or control of their lobbying efforts, regardless of any financial contribution to the lobbying effort.
In his role on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has worked to ensure that the federal government's is working in the best interest of the nation. The Senate has passed Peters' bipartisan legislation to help identify and mitigate potential conflicts of interest between taxpayer-funded projects and government contractors. His bill to prevent foreign governments from attempting to influence U.S. policy without making appropriate disclosures has advanced in the Senate. Peters has also introduced a bipartisan bill to require federal agencies to identify and address potential foreign conflicts of interest involving government contractors, including by disqualifying firms from being awarded contracts where necessary to protect national security and foreign policy interests.