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AAMC, Higher Ed Groups Comment on Rulemaking on the Foreign Agents Registration Act

February 18, 2022

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CONTACTS
Christa Wagner, Manager, Government Relations
Anurupa Dev, Lead Specialist, Science Policy

The AAMC joined 15 higher education organizations in a Feb. 11 letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in response to a request for comments to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This statute aims to combat foreign influence through established disclosure requirements for foreign individuals engaged in specific activities within the United States.

The letter reinforced the ongoing efforts of the higher education community to address foreign influence. “The higher education community has been actively engaged in national efforts to combat foreign influence and improve transparency. We take very seriously our responsibility to protect and fight against malign foreign influence and interference,” the authors stated.

“At the same time, we feel it is critical for colleges and universities to maintain and protect fundamental principles of free speech, academic freedom, and freedom of association with international partners. These values are central to the abilities of institutions to advance the very academic, artistic, and scientific pursuits that the current exemption is intended to protect,” the letter continued.

The associations also addressed the ANPRM question regarding clarifying the existing disclosure exemption for individuals engaged in “scholastic, academic and scientific pursuits.” The letter noted the importance of the exemption and recommended additional clarification on what constitutes “political activities” that would require disclosure under FARA regulations.

The ANPRM noted that the DOJ “anticipates issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would amend or otherwise clarify the scope of certain exemptions, update various definitions, and make other modernizing changes” to existing implementing regulations of FARA.

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