Foreign Interests Have Spent Over $530 Million Influencing US Policy Since 2017

Foreign lobbyists and agents acting on behalf of foreign interests have reported hundreds of millions of dollars in payments since January 2017, an analysis of OpenSecrets’ exclusive new Foreign Lobby Watch data reveals.

Today we’re making available, for the first time, a searchable database of foreign interests spending on lobbying and influence in the United States.

Foreign lobbyists and other operatives acting on behalf of foreign interests wield a significant amount of power, impacting economic and diplomatic policies as well as public opinion.

The law that governs most foreign influence disclosure requirements, the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), requires any foreign agent or lobbyist representing a foreign principal to register with the US Department of Justice and file detailed public disclosures.

These reports may include details that are not found in the more familiar lobbying reports submitted to Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, including names of US officials with whom the lobbyist had contact and copies of materials disseminated, such as ads, press releases, or flyers.

While FARA reports are publicly available through the Justice Department, following the money can be difficult, requiring laborious research and records sleuthing. With Foreign Lobby Watch, anyone can quickly learn what foreign interests are spending on lobbying or to influence policy in the United States and how much they are spending.

Since the Center for Responsive Politics inherited this project from the Sunlight Foundation, we’ve added a number of features to make the records easier to access. In addition to a full-text search feature, Foreign Lobby Watch data is now searchable by lobbyist or political operative name, registrant, country, and foreign principal. For example, you can find every mention of “tariff” in all of the FARA filings or choose to filter result by firm, lobbyist, country, date, or any combination of the filters.

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