University of Texas at Austin

Lobbying by Trump associates highlights foreign agent law

Paul Manafort says he's registering with the Justice Department as a foreign agent. Michael Flynn already has. In both cases, the decisions to register by these associates of President Donald Trump came late — after the lobbying has already taken place — and accompanied by an admission that they violated federal law.

The high-profile filings are putting a spotlight on the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law enacted before World War II with the goal of unmasking foreign influence campaigns in the U.S.

The idea was simple: Lobbyists and others who work on behalf of a foreign government or political interest must disclose to the Justice Department and to the public their...