Sheila Jackson Lee Tries, Fails, to Name Foreign Agents Bill After Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn

Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is no stranger to attention-grabbing behavior in Congress.

Typically known for lining the aisles of State of the Union addresses (though apparently not the forthcoming one, which she plans to boycott), Jackson Lee has now set her sites on legislation updating the  Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).


Most critically, Jackson Lee has a rename in mind for the rebooted legislation: The No More Paul Manaforts or Michael Flynns Act.

One consequence of the Trump presidency to-date has been that at least a few percent of the American public have become aware of FARA, which is aimed at enabling the federal government to monitor the activities of people working for foreign influences in Washington, D.C., and giving the Department of Justice extra capacity to go after people for misdeeds where they are up to no good on behalf of a foreign adversary, for cash or other benefits.

FARA a pre-Cold War era law that up until recently, basically no one complied with, apart from the odd super-honest advocacy pro who would register for sending press releases out from the Icelandic Travel and Tourism Board or some other such organization.

But it seems, in the wake of the Paul Manafort/(alleged) Putin-connected Ukrainian client work he (allegedly) did, and the Mike Flynn/(alleged) work on behalf of the Turkish government he (allegedly) did, that now, that FARA is getting fresh attention. Not only are lobbyists and communications folk and advertisers now actually bothering to register, in droves, for the work on behalf of the People’s Front of Judea, the Judean People’s Front and the Front for Judean People. Congress is also looking to update the law.


And that’s where Jackson Lee comes in, telling Politico “I do think this is an appropriate renaming of this bill,” Lee said.

Sad news, though: While an overhaul of FARA proceeds, Jackson Lee’s amendment was rejected by voice vote, depriving Manafort and Flynn of yet another opportunity to cement their names in our nation’s historical record.

It looks like ultimately, Manafort and Flynn’s legacy may be restricted to amazingly coiffed hair and questionable repping of questionable foreign political parties, businesses and figures, and in Flynn’s case, as well, getting a “Lock Her Up” chant going at a national party convention.


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