January 30, 2019

Castro Introduces Legislation Preventing Intelligence Community Heads from Lobbying for Foreign Government

WASHINGTON—Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a member of the Intelligence and Education and Labor Committees, today re-introduced legislation that would prevent Intelligence Community heads from lobbying for foreign governments. The Intelligence Directors Lobbying Prevention Act of 2019 (H.R. 867) specifically amends the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 to ban a former head of any Intelligence Community agency from serving as a lobbyist for a foreign principle.

“We know the United States Intelligence Community provides the backbone of security for the United States and many of our allies abroad, and its members contribute daily to the safety and security of Americans in addition to global stability” said Chairman Castro. “With the case of General Michael T. Flynn and his nefarious dealings for Russia and Turkey, it’s critical we tighten the Foreign Agents Registration Act and ensure Intelligence Community heads do not lobby on behalf of a foreign principle so as to not jeopardize the United States and our interests at home and abroad. This legislation is the right thing for U.S. national security and the smart thing to do for holding all those within the Intelligence Community—and the broader United States Government—to the highest levels of ethical standards.”

Background: The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires that people lobbying for foreign principles register their activity with the Department of Justice.  However, recent events have highlighted the need to amend the FARA to prohibit the heads of elements of the intelligence community from conducting such work given the sensitive nature of their government employment. This legislation specifically amends FARA to prohibit a former head of any Intelligence Community (IC) element from serving as a lobbyist for a foreign principal for life. Congressman André Carson (IN-07), Congressman James P. McGovern (MA-02), and Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) were also original cosponsors on this measure, and you can read more about this legislation here.

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