Wednesday, February 23, 2022
UPDATE: Politico article summarizing all of the comments submitted.
Axios reports that nonprofits from across the political spectrum are raising concerns about possible changes to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) regulations that could impact many nonprofits. The Department of Justice formally announced plans for these changes in an Advanced Notice of Public Rulemaking (ANPR) issued in December. The ANPR includes questions relating to the scope of agency for purposes of identifying agents of foreign principals (including the definition of "political consultant"), the scope of various exemptions, and various procedural issues.
The 29 comments submitted in response to the ANPR include one from a group of 14 nonprofits, among them the Alliance for Justice, the ACLU, Americans for Prosperity, the NRDC, and Oxfam America, that is highlighted in the above Axios article. Their comment emphasized that "FARA’s overbreadth and vagueness can undermine and chill First Amendment rights to speech and association and the statute has a history of being used to target undesirable expressive conduct." Other comments from nonprofits, some of which were also part of the group of 14, include ones from the American Council on Education, the Institute for Free Speech, InterAction, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and the National Wildlife Federation.