On December 1, 2023, three top U.S. government officials responsible for enforcing the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) gave remarks at the American Conference Institute’s 5th National Forum on FARA. In their remarks, each of the speakers – Deputy Assistant Attorney General Eun Young Choi, the Acting Chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section Jennifer Gellie, and the FARA Unit Chief Evan Turgeon – reiterated and reinforced the Department’s commitment to enforcing the statute aggressively. The officials also previewed potentially substantial regulatory changes that it will propose in its forthcoming notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”), along with highlighting the Department’s enforcement and legislative priorities.

In this alert, we summarize and examine these developments, each of which could have significant implications for international companies, sovereign wealth funds, and others, along with the political, legal, and public relations consultants who advise them. 

Print:
Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
Photo of Robert Kelner Robert Kelner

Robert Kelner is the chair of Covington’s Election and Political Law Practice Group. Mr. Kelner provides political law compliance advice to a wide range of corporate and political clients.  His compliance practice focuses on federal and state campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, pay to…

Robert Kelner is the chair of Covington’s Election and Political Law Practice Group. Mr. Kelner provides political law compliance advice to a wide range of corporate and political clients.  His compliance practice focuses on federal and state campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, pay to play, and government ethics laws, as well as legal ethics rules.  His expertise includes the Federal Election Campaign Act, Lobbying Disclosure Act, Ethics in Government Act, Foreign Agents Registration Act, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  He is also a leading authority on the arcane rules governing political contributions by municipal securities dealers, investment advisers, hedge funds, and private equity funds.  Mr. Kelner advises Presidential political appointees on the complex process of being vetted and confirmed for such appointments.

In addition, he regularly advises corporations and corporate executives on instituting political law compliance programs.  He conducts compliance training for senior corporate executives and lobbyists.  He has extensive experience conducting corporate internal investigations concerning campaign finance and lobbying law compliance, as well as other corporate compliance matters.  Mr. Kelner regularly defends clients in investigations by the Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. House & Senate Ethics Committees, the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, the House & Senate Judiciary Committees, the House Energy & Commerce Committee and its Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Special Committee on Aging, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and other congressional committees.  He has prepared numerous CEOs and corporate executives for testimony before congressional investigation panels, and he regularly leads the Practicing Law Institute’s training program on congressional investigations for in-house lawyers.  He also defends clients in Lobbying Disclosure Act audits by the GAO and enforcement actions and audits by state election and lobbying enforcement agencies.

Mr. Kelner has appeared as a commentator on political law matters on The PBS News Hour, CNBC, Fox News, and NPR, and he has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Legal Times, Washington Times, Roll Call, The Hill, Politico, USA Today, Financial Times, and other publications.

Photo of Brian D. Smith Brian D. Smith

Brian Smith provides strategic and legal advice on matters that require substantial political, reputational, or government relations considerations.  He represents companies and individuals in high-profile or high-risk investigations, particularly congressional investigations, criminal investigations with political implications, and investigations related to political law compliance. …

Brian Smith provides strategic and legal advice on matters that require substantial political, reputational, or government relations considerations.  He represents companies and individuals in high-profile or high-risk investigations, particularly congressional investigations, criminal investigations with political implications, and investigations related to political law compliance.  He has significant experience in crisis management, where he advises clients facing combined legal, political, and media relations risks.  His practice also includes the development and execution of government relations initiatives, including securing the U.S. government’s political support on behalf of U.S. companies facing international legal issues.

Photo of Zachary G. Parks Zachary G. Parks

Zachary Park advises a wide range of corporate and political clients on federal and state campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, pay to play, and government ethics laws. Mr. Parks regularly advises corporations and corporate executives on instituting political law compliance programs and conducts compliance…

Zachary Park advises a wide range of corporate and political clients on federal and state campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, pay to play, and government ethics laws. Mr. Parks regularly advises corporations and corporate executives on instituting political law compliance programs and conducts compliance training for senior corporate executives and lobbyists. He also has extensive experience conducting corporate internal investigations concerning campaign finance and lobbying law compliance and has defended clients in investigations by the Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.

Photo of Alex Langton Alex Langton

Alexandra Langton represents and counsels corporate, political, and individual clients in matters before government agencies and Congress. She also advises companies, PACs, nonprofits, and individuals on compliance with federal and state campaign finance, election, and lobbying laws.

Photo of Elizabeth Upton Elizabeth Upton

Elizabeth Upton is a member of the Election and Political Law Practice Group in the Washington, DC office, representing and counseling corporate, political, and individual clients in matters before government agencies and Congress. Elizabeth defends clients in high-profile congressional investigations before House and…

Elizabeth Upton is a member of the Election and Political Law Practice Group in the Washington, DC office, representing and counseling corporate, political, and individual clients in matters before government agencies and Congress. Elizabeth defends clients in high-profile congressional investigations before House and Senate Committees, as well as in criminal and civil government investigations before the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission. She has experience assisting companies in responding to formal and informal inquiries, requests, and subpoenas for documents, information, and testimony, and has experience preparing senior executives to testify before congressional committees. Prior to joining Covington, Elizabeth served as a Law Clerk to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI).

Elizabeth also advises companies, PACs, nonprofits, and individuals on the full range of political law compliance and enforcement matters involving federal election, campaign finance, lobbying, and government ethics laws, as well as the election and political laws of states and municipalities across the country.