Just WTF is “Retroactive Registration” as a Foreign Agent?

by ProudlyLiberal –

There have been at least two recent incidents where foreign agents of Russia (who, by law, are required to register with the Attorney General within 10 days of becoming such an agent) have “retroactively registered”.  It must be noted that these registrations have been filed only because each individual’s dealings with Russia have become public and the individuals are under Federal investigation by the FBI, House Permanent Committee on Intelligence and the Senate.

Of course the two who have (or will soon) register retroactively are Michael Flynn, the fired National Security Adviser and Paul Manafort, the apparently peripherally-involved chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.  In Flynn’s case, the actions causing registration occurred in 2015 and 2016, and in Manafort’s the activities we know about today that require registration are for his work on lobbying for Putin on the subject of Ukraine from 2012-2014.

Carter Page insists he has never been a foreign agent, but don’t be surprised that changes as the investigations continue.

As I mentioned above, the registration is supposed to be done before action is taken as a foreign agent, but the statue does allow for registration within 10 days.   Not 2 years… and certainly not 5 years.

Before we go into the penalties, let’s discuss how this “retroactive” compliance with Federal law represents special treatment for those in good favor with our Bomber-in-Chief.  If you or I broke a federal law, I somehow doubt that as the FBI agents  introduced themselves, we’d have the opportunity to say, “Oh, wow, I forgot… I’ll comply retroactively!”.  But there is some good news for the general public in these registrations.  First, when filing in this manner, it is required that the filer admit and acknowledge that they were in non-compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)  on a timely basis.  Secondly, upon such acknowledgement, the following penalties could apply:

Any person who—(1) willfully violates any provision of this subchapter or any regulation thereunder, or (2) in any registration statement or supplement thereto or in any other document filed with or furnished to the Attorney General under the provisions of this subchapter willfully makes a false statement of a material fact or willfully omits any material fact required to be stated therein or willfully omits a material fact or a copy of a material document necessary to make the statements therein and the copies of documents furnished therewith not misleading, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.

22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq

I guess it’s time for us to hold a rally, where we get to chant, “Lock Him Up!, Lock Him Up!”


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos