Improvements Needed in the Administration of Foreign Agent Registration

ID-80-51: Published: Jul 31, 1980. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 1980.

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Since 1974, the Department of Justice has made some improvements in its administration of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Civil actions have been taken to register additional agents and to have their activities reported.

The administration of the act, however, requires more attention as persons are acting as foreign agents without registering, registered agents are not fully disclosing their activities, and officials in the executive branch are often unaware of the act's requirements. The public is not being provided with sufficient information on foreign agents and their activities.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should seek legislative authority to give the Justice Department additional enforcement measures, such as administrative subpoena powers, and a schedule of civil fines for minor violations and increases in existing fines; and require written notification to the Justice Department of all exemption claims prior to any agent activity. He should also: (1) survey the public users of the foreign agent files to determine their opinions on whether disclosure information is adequate and whether additional information might be useful; (2) provide specific guidance to agents and agency personnel on their responsibilities under the act and revise the registration and reporting forms to better reflect the requirements of the act as well as the results of the user survey; and (3) establish a more permanent inspection capability with scheduled inspections for an emphasis on the more important type of agents. The Secretary of State should resolve with the Attorney General who qualifies for diplomatic exemptions and, in the future, provide whatever assistance the Attorney General requests to effectively administer the act.

    Agency Affected:


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