Lobbying Tracker now follows foreign influence


Sunlight's Lobbying Tracker, which shows the latest hirings of K-Street professionals by special interests and when former congressional members and staff can legally lobby their old colleagues, now lets users track foreign influence as well. The Lobbying Tracker pulls in the latest filings made under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, allowing users to follow the latest foreign clients, see the most recent semi-annual disclosure reports and even see who the most recent individuals are to disclose their activities under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

The Foreign Lobbying Filing component of the Lobbying Tracker pulls in filings as they are made public each day. Users can read the latest contract filed by the Moffett Group to represent the Kingdom of Morocco, "focusing on the issues surrounding the Western Sahara," an inhospitable territory with an indigenous movement that has been seeking independence from Morocco for years, or read the Cedar Group's report on its lobbying activities, in which it notes that Frank Murkowski, the former governor and senator from Alaska, advised the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office on, among other subjects, the Alaska Senate race and resource opportunities in the state.

The filings come from the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) database, which includes several different types of disclosures that keep track of the activities of agents for foreign governments, government-controlled entities including some for-profit corporations and political parties. Some are brief: Short Forms, which are two pages long, list the individual lobbyists working for a foreign entity. Some can be more lengthy: Exhibits AB are filed when a firm begins representing a new foreign client, and often contain the written contract spelling out the services the foreign agent will provide for the client.

The initial Registration and the Supplemental Statements, filed every six months thereafter, can be the most informative, providing information on the firm's partners, what kind of public relations and lobbying a firm engages in on behalf of a foreign government, businesses or sometimes even an individual. It also lists the various campaign contributions made by lobbyists and itemized payments made to the lobbying firm. Some of these documents from 2008 and 2009 are in a database format here and should be updated with more recent filings soon.

Documents titled Exhibit B in the tracker includes the contractual agreement between the foreign entity and the lobbying firm, including how much they are spending to lobby while ones titled Exhibit C include detailed information about the lobbying companies, such as their bylaws and articles of incorporation.

For more information and to search by country, explore the Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker for filings from previous years where you can find all foreign lobbying ranging from the Dalai Lama to Muammar Ghaddafi.