White House Says Georgia’s ‘Foreign Agents’ Bill Threatens Relations

Proponents of the bill in Georgia have compared it the the US's Foreign Agents Registration Act

The White House said on Tuesday that if a foreign agents bill passed by Georgia’s parliament becomes law, the US would have to “fundamentally reassess” its relations with the country.

The bill, titled “On the Transparency of Foreign Influence,” requires non-governmental organizations that receive at least 20% of their funding from abroad to register as foreign agents. Proponents of the bill in the ruling Georgian Dream Party have compared it to the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires individuals or entities engaging in lobbying or other activity on behalf of a foreign country to register as foreign agents with the US Department of Justice.

The US and other Western nations have compared the bill to a similar law enacted by Russia in 2012. The Russian law was part of Moscow’s response to the US government funding NGOs and opposition parties.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre condemned the Georgian bill as “Kremlin-style ‘foreign agents’ legislation.” Georgia’s president is expected to veto the bill, but the parliament could override it.

“It is unclear whether parliament will try to override a potential veto, we have been outspoken about our concerns with the legislation, which runs counter to democratic values and would move Georgia further away from the values of the European Union and, let’s not forget, also NATO,” Jean-Pierre said.

She also expressed support for the protesters who have held demonstrations against the legislation. “The Georgian people have been making their views known about this legislation, protesting in the streets, as you all have been reporting,” she said. “We will see what the parliament does.  But if this legislation passes, it will compel us to fundamentally reassess our relationship with Georgia.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.