Foreign Lobbyist Influence Tracker, a joint project of ProPublica and the Sunlight Foundation, digitizes information that representatives of foreign governments, political parties and government-controlled entities must disclose to the U.S. Justice Department when they seek to influence U.S. policy.
NEW: Updated data with 2009 filings.
As the cache of internal State Department cables released by Julian Assange and Wikileaks.org amply demonstrates, U.S. government officials offer frank opinions about the leaders, policies and political developments in other countries. Another treasure trove of documents, disclosure of which is required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act, shows how foreign governments use Washington lobbyists to challenge those judgments and plead their case in Washington. The Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, thanks to a grant from ProPublica.org, has digitized and made searchable data from FARA filings.
In 2009, lobbying, public relations and other firms that represent some 328 clients —foreign governments, political parties and government-controlled entities including some for-profit corporations—reported receiving more than $60 million in fees—down by about $25 million from the total in the previous year, an analysis of disclosures required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) shows.
Denounced by their Latin American neighbors, the Obama administration and world opinion following the removal from power and immediate exile of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, the acting Honduran government turned to Washington lobbyists to launch a media and lobbying campaign on Sept. 19, 2009, to regain legitimacy in the United States.
Filings under the Foreign Agent Registration Act provide far more detail on how lobbyists interact with government officials than those required by the Lobbying Disclosure Act; they contain information on efforts by foreign governments and organizations to influence U.S. policy on trade, taxation, foreign aid, appropriations, human rights and national security.
Since May 2007 the Justice Department has maintained a Web site that posts image files [pdf] of FARA disclosures online, but none of that information is available in a digitized format. Thus, it is impossible, for example, to see how many times the office of an individual member of Congress has been contacted. With the Foreign Lobbyist Influence Tracker, you can now find out with ease by selecting any member’s name from the pull-down list.
For more detailed information on FARA filings view our methodology.Bulk data