International Relations

Finding the Other Manaforts: How, and How Much, Foreign Money is Spent on Lobbying in the United States



The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) exempts foreign commercial entities who have registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA) from registering with the US Department of Justice (DOJ). However, if the lobbying efforts of these entities benefit a foreign power they are required to be registered under FARA, not LDA. This paper will demonstrate that foreign entities—potentially hundreds—are likely exploiting the LDA exemption to circumvent FARA requirements and obfuscate foreign lobbying efforts. This examination will reveal which foreign commercial entities are exploiting the LDA exemption, deepening the capabilities of academic researchers to explore the threat of foreign influence and unveil efforts to destabilize democracies, in the United States and beyond.


Thumbnail image of 2020-APSAForeignLobbyingPaper-Courtney&Lee.pdf

Supplementary material

Thumbnail image of 2020APSA-Sourcing1.docx
Works Cited for the Working Paper
Works Cited
Thumbnail image of 2013-2017 Biannual Report Data.xlsx
Compiled FARA Annual Spending Data
Structured spending data retrieved from publicly available Foreign Agents Registration Act Bi-Annual Reports.
Thumbnail image of LDAData-APSA2020Paper.xlsx
LDA Foreign Client Data 2016-2019*
Structured data retrieved from the US Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act database on foreign addressed clients and their US registered lobbyists from 2016 to quarter one 2019. Some charts and graphs are available within.

Supplementary weblinks

DOJ FARA Bi-Annual Reports
US Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act Bi-Annual Reports data.
US Senate LDA Database
US Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act forms database.


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