Joe Sandler was cited as a FARA expert in a news item in today’ Politico Influence newsletter. The newsletter sought to follow up on a story last week in which actor Steven Seagal was described as the “face of the Russian weapons industry.” Politico Influnece asked Mr. Sandler about Mr. Seagal’s relationship with Russia as it relates to the Foreign Agent Registration Act. Mr. Sandler told Politico “if and when an agreement is reached, and regardless of whether he gets paid or not, to do the work described in the [original] piece would definitely require Mr. Seagal to register under FARA. To try to help move U.S. public opinion to support marketing of weapons on behalf of the Russian government would definitely trigger the need to register.”
Read the original story on Mr. Seagal’s relationship with the Russian weapons industry here.
Joe Sandler was recently cited as an expert in the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) in an article by Buzzfeed Politics about foreign lobbying in the United States. The article discusses a key loophole in FARA: so long as the lobbying isn’t directly funded or supported by a foreign governmental agency, the lobbyist does not have to register under FARA, but rather under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, which has much less stringent reporting and transparency requirements. However as the article explains, there are many indirect ways foreign governments can get around FARA while still effectively lobbying in America. While both laws grew out of “anti-corruption crusades of the 1990s,” Mr. Sandler told Buzzfeed that “For better or for worse, it’s legal,” and that the two laws “evolved in completely different ways.”