Congress

House Republicans Are Using FARA Against Environmentalists

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Republican party is awash in shady lobbyists and foreign influencers who've even held positions in the federal government under Trump, but that is not their concern.

House Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee are using the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) against environmentalists.

The law is intended to prevent someone like Trump's former chief national security adviser Michael Flynn from penetrating the government on behalf of foreign governments -- such as Turkey in Flynn's case -- but House Republicans are using it against environmentalists who are trying to protect animals. The Natural Resources Committee is using the law as a pretext for demanding internal documents from multiple environmental groups.

In a bluntly worded letter delivered earlier this week, the Center for Biological Diversity accused the Republican chairman and another senior GOP member of the Natural Resources Committee of pursuing a “politically motivated abuse of authority” and for operating outside of their jurisdiction. The environmental group has been part of a long-running fight to protect an endangered marine mammal. [...]

Reps. Rob Bishop of Utah, the committee chairman, and Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, who heads the panel’s oversight and investigations subcommittee, have written letters over the last few months to the Center for Biological Diversity and three other environmental groups — the Natural Resources Defense Council, the World Resources Institute, and Earthjustice — to inform them of the inquiry.

The lawmakers demanded a wide range of internal documents about the groups’ operations to include their relationships and transactions with foreign governments or businesses. The Natural Resources Defense Council, for example, was told to produce records related to its work in China, where it has a sizeable presence, and that would show whether or not it registered “as an agent of a foreign principal.”

There it is. China.

The independent work of four different environmental groups who are pursuing different causes in different parts of the world is clearly a conspiracy, right?

I'm sure it's for the best that I am not advising these groups because if I were I would recommend that they tell House Republicans to fuck themselves. The Center for Biological Diversity has told the committee they would be willing to appear at a public hearing, but I wouldn't even do that.

  • muselet

    The Rs don’t seem to be able to do anything without crude bullying tactics, do they?

    (Good on the Center for Biological Diversity for standing up to Rob Bishop and Bruce Westerman. They richlly deserve pushback.)

    –alopecia

  • fry1laurie

    Foreign agent No. 1 is living in the White House,