U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act

  • The Bharatiya Janata Party is now the first Indian political party to have named itself as a foreign principle of a US-based organisation.
  • The Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) has registered under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) under the US Department of Justice.
  • The Act says that “agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a political or quasi political capacity [must] disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related finances”.
  • After the FARA registration, the OFBJP will have to declare whenever its members meet US legislators, hold public events or receive funding from US groups.
  • There are also other Indian entities registered under the Act – largely legal, lobby or public relations that work with the Indian Embassy or the tourism department.
  • Probable reason for this is, in April this year,
    • “The U.S. department of Justice had announced that it would conduct an FARA enforcement drive with wider scrutiny of all consultants and organisations and sent a number of “deficiency notices”, asking suspected foreign agents to register or stop activity on behalf of foreign entities.”
  • The OFBJP has denied receiving such a notice.
  • The OFBJP-USA members can participate in the US election campaign and support any candidate or a party in their personal capacity but they have been instructed not to use BJP or OFBJP name during the campaign.