FILE - In this Aug. 18, 2016, file photo, a portion of the website for the website fara.gov, on the Foreign Agents Registration Act, is seen photographed in Washington. A push to give the Justice Department more enforcement authority over the lucrative and at times shadowy world of foreign lobbying is stalled amid opposition from pro-business groups, nonprofits and privacy advocates. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

Push to toughen foreign lobbying law stalls amid opposition

October 09, 2018 - 12:24 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A push to give the Justice Department more enforcement authority over the lucrative and at times shadowy world of foreign lobbying is stalled amid opposition from pro-business groups, nonprofits and privacy advocates.

Organizations that range from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have raised objections to legislation that would sharpen the teeth of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The law was enacted decades ago to expose Nazi propaganda, and it requires people to disclose when they lobby in the U.S. on behalf of foreign governments or political entities.

There's bipartisan support for cracking down on unregistered foreign agents. But critics say several proposed changes could backfire by sweeping in many unintended targets. That pushback has effectively kept the legislation from advancing.

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