Today’s Washington Journal focused on foreign lobbying and the role that former government officials and K Street firms play in advancing the agendas of foreign governments and political parties in Washington. I discussed some of the background of the law that requires these firms to disclose information on their activities, the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, and talked about what these disclosures tell us about how foreign interests influence U.S. policies. Watch the whole segment below:
Here are links to the sites I mentioned that make these disclosures accessible for the general public. My favorite, the Foreign Lobbyist Influence Tracker–a joint project between Sunlight and our friends at ProPublica, is a great place to start research. It digitizes the information that representatives of foreign entities are required to disclose to the U.S. Justice Department. It has data from 2008 and 2009, and we’ll be updating it this summer with information from 2010 filings. To see the latest disclosures by foreign agents, check out our Lobbying Tracker.
I mentioned Sunlight’s Influence Explorer as a good user friendly database of money in politics and TransparencyData for more advanced users who want to get more down in the trenches (spreadsheets actually) of research. Numerous examples of Sunlight’s foreign influence reporting came up during the CSPAN segment, including Paul Blumenthal’s exposé of the Monitor Group lobbying on behalf of Libya and neglecting to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. I also mentioned an article in the now defunct Spy Magazine that explored the extravagant and nefarious lobbying activities of the late Edward von Kloberg III on behalf of tyrants and dictators. Don’t miss Mark Steyn’s obituary of him.
Thanks to C-Span’s Washington Journal for having me on–it’s a great show and a great format for discussing the work we do here at Sunlight.