Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a meeting ostensibly convened to discuss the failure to enforce the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA). Originally rescheduled for this week, the postponed meeting would have featured Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort testifying about their controversial Trump Tower meeting, but their subpoenas were canceled at the last minute after they arranged to turn over documents. The June 2016 meeting under investigation included Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, publicist Rob Goldstone, businessman Ike Kaveladze, and translator Anatoli Samochornov. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was also in attendance, apparently only briefly.
The topic of foreign agents lobbying on behalf of their nations raises the questions as to why are we allowing them to operate in this country without proper disclosure. Why was it acceptable for Flynn and Manafort to retroactively register as a foreign agent and we are supposed to accept it. More importantly, why did Mr. Trump allow foreign agents to control as much of his campaign as he did?
While there are a few legitimate reasons why foreign nations have for lobbying, it is no excuse for the lack of enforcing existing law and transparency. It should not matter if it a real person or a corporate person. If there is lobbying done on behalf of a foreign nation, it needs to be disclosed.
Too bad, nobody is interested in truly draining the swamp.