Rosenstein quoted by Southern Poverty Law Center

Partner Josh Rosenstein was recently quoted in an article by Creede Newton of Southern Poverty Law Center about how contracts between Hungarian U.S. conservative figures obtained by the group Hatewatch suggest three Hungarian right-wing ideologues should register as foreign agents under U.S. law.

“Hatewatch shared the contracts with Josh Rosenstein, a partner at D.C. law firm Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, P.C., which advises clients on FARA compliance. Rosenstein said the ‘arrangements’ between BLA and the U.S. figures ‘seem to raise significant FARA concerns.'”

“Rosenstein said the FARA Unit, which oversees enforcement of the law and is housed inside the Department of Justice, has recently focused on foreign nonprofits and domestic NGOs’ relationships with foreign entities. ‘Particularly given the focus that the Department of Justice has recently and will continue to have on foreign-based nonprofits and NGOs and think tanks,’ Rosenstein said, the contracts seem ‘to fall directly in line with the Department’s enforcement priorities.'”

“The contract most likely to require FARA registration is between BLA and Matthew O’Shea, according to Rosenstein. The contract between BLA and O’Shea says O’Shea ‘shall prepare at least two articles of at least 650 words per month, in particular on Hungarian family policy and Hungarian geopolitical topics, for American and European media.’”

“Rosenstein explained there are exceptions for FARA, including those engaged in commerce, academic researchers, lawyers and diplomats. But O’Shea’s example does not appear to qualify for these exemptions, he said.”

“Rosenstein said FARA’s enforcement arm would be interested in these posts. ‘If a foreign principal asks him to do this’ even if ‘the contract had expired,’ then ‘that technically is regulated’ activity, Rosenstein explained.”

“Rosenstein said that ‘if FARA applies,’ agents who ‘disseminate propaganda’ on behalf of foreign principals must label the propaganda with a ‘prominent disclaimer,’ and a copy of the propaganda – now called ‘informational materials’ under the law – must be filed with the Justice Department.”

“Rosenstein said that contracts are usually not ‘so explicit’ as to name a political movement or ideology which the principal hopes to influence. He further wondered if this section’s removal was an attempt to circumvent FARA.”

Read the full article here