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Justice Dept. Plans to Open Up About Its Views on Foreign Agent Lobbying Registration

May 25, 2018, The National Law Journal

Robert Kelner is quoted by The National Law Journal in an article regarding the Justice Department's plan to publish FARA advisory opinions. “I think this could make a big difference in how firms advise clients on FARA compliance because, up until now, we’ve all had to do a great deal of reading the tea leaves rather than having actual legal precedents to look at,” Kelner says. “The thing about having precedents is it allows you to not only understand the department’s position but, more importantly, to hold them to it.” The public release of the advisory opinions “will eliminate the tradition of samizdat in FARA practice,” Kelner adds. However, he cautions that anyone looking to make decisions based on the advisory opinions will need to be careful, as the Justice Department’s determinations are specific to individual sets of circumstances. “Whether others can rely on [an advisory opinion] is a dicier proposition and depends on how identical the other person’s factual situation is to the requestor."

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