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34 S. C. L. Rev. 687 (1982-1983)
The Foreign Agents Registration Act: When Is Registration Required

handle is hein.journals/sclr34 and id is 715 raw text is: NOTES
The Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 [hereinafter
referred to as FARA]1 originally was enacted by Congress to cur-
tail the subversive political activities of Nazi and Communist
propagandists within the United States during World War II
and the early Cold War. During this period, the enforcement
machinery focused upon the political threat from radical propa-
gandists who sought to influence the course of government ac-
tion by influencing American public opinion. Congress did not
attempt to restrict the distribution of political propaganda or to
limit directly the activities of political subversives. Rather, the
operative language of FARA required registration of foreign
agents and disclosure of their agency relationships when the
agents represented the interests of their foreign principals
before government agencies and officers and before the general
As the Cold War subsided, the focus of FARA shifted to
accommodate the more subtle operations and objectives of for-
eign principals. Foreign agents became more concerned with
commercial matters and specific facets of American foreign and
domestic policy that have economic ramifications.2 The contem-
porary foreign agent is a lobbyist,3 seeking by persuasion to in-
1. 22 U.S.C. §§ 611 to 621 (1976 and Supp. IV 1980).
2. Agents acting on behalf of foreign commercial enterprises may be concerned with
lobbying efforts for a number of reasons. Companies originating in highly industrialized
nations require extensive advertising and public relations to create a strong product mar-
ket. They often employ representatives to appear before government commissions and
other official bodies. Companies engaged in industries that are the subject of controversy
in the United States may wish to sway public opinion in their favor.
3. Because lobbying is a highly regulated activity, foreign agents may be subject to a

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