1.png

US lawmakers are pushing legislation that would force foreign business leaders to divulge sensitive information about their contacts with US government officials in a crackdown on lobbying spurred by concern about Russian political meddling.

美国议员正在推动的一项立法将迫使外国企业领导人披露有关他们与美国政府官员接触的敏感信息,此举意在打压游说活动,其初衷是出于对俄罗斯插手美国政治的担忧。

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference has injected new life into a bill causing concern among non-US multinationals because it could class their employees as “foreign agents” subject to stringent American disclosure requirements that could put them at a disadvantage to US rivals..

特别检察官罗伯特.穆勒(Robert Mueller)对俄罗斯干涉的调查,为一项引发非美国跨国公司忧虑的法案注入新的生命力,因为该法案将它们的雇员归为“外国代理人”,要遵守美国严格的披露要求,从而可能使他们相对于美国竞争对手处于不利地位。

The bill would strengthen an obscure 1930s law aimed at Nazi propagandists that was thrust into the spotlight by Mr Mueller’s October indictment of Paul Manafort, US President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager accused of failing to register as a foreign agent lobbying for a Ukrainian political party.

该法案将加强一部20世纪30年代一部针对纳粹宣传人员的鲜为人知的法律。去年10月,穆勒对美国总统唐纳德.特朗普(Donald Trump)的前竞选经理保罗.马纳福特(Paul Manafort)提出刑事控罪,后者被控在为乌克兰某政党游说期间,未能登记为一名外国代理人。此举把该法推到聚光灯下。

Lawyers say the legislation, which would modify the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act, would heap new disclosure requirements on the staff of any non-US company meeting federal officials; on American lobbyists providing services to foreign companies; and on US businesses lobbying for their own foreign affiliates.

律师们表示,对1938年《外国代理人登记法》(Foreign Agents Registration Act)作出修改的新法案,将对以下几类对象提出大量新的披露要求:会晤联邦官员的任何非美国企业员工;为境外企业提供服务的美国游说者;以及为自己的境外附属企业游说的美国企业。

Its effect would be “chilling”, according to a Washington-based executive at one European company. “Your competitors would have extraordinary transparency into what you are doing in the US.”

某欧洲公司常驻华盛顿的一名高管表示,该法将造成“令人不寒而栗的”影响。“你在美国的活动对你的竞争对手而言将会具有异常高的透明度。”

Multinationals with big US operations — including the likes of engine maker Rolls-Royce and German manufacturers Bayer and Siemens — have sent staff to Capitol Hill to express their concerns about the legislation in its current form, according to people familiar with the bill.

据知情人士透露,在美国拥有大规模业务的跨国公司——包括发动机制造商罗尔斯罗伊斯(Rolls-Royce)以及拜耳(Bayer)和西门子(Siemens)等德国制造商——都已派员到美国国会,表达他们对目前形式法案的担忧。

Nancy McLernon, president of OFII (the Organisation for International Investment), a trade group for non-US companies lobbying for changes to the bill, said it would “lump US employees of a Canadian auto-parts company or Germany-based grocery chain in with agents of foreign governments”.

代表非美国公司的国际投资组织(OFII)正在游说修改新法案,该组织总裁南希.麦克莱诺恩(Nancy McLernon)表示,目前形式的法案将会“把一家加拿大汽车配件公司或总部位于德国的连锁食品超市的美国雇员与外国政府的代理人混为一谈”。

The Republican-backed bill, which passed a hurried committee vote in the House of Representatives in January, is sponsored by congressman Mike Johnson and the senator Chuck Grassley, who have said it would close “loopholes exploited by lobbyists of foreign entities to conceal their work”.

共和党支持的该法案,1月在众议院通过一次匆匆安排的委员会投票。该法案获得众议员迈克.约翰逊(Mike Johnson)和参议员查克.格拉斯利(Chuck Grassley)支持,他们称,它将堵上“境外实体的游说者为掩盖其工作而利用的漏洞”。

While the bill’s progress is making business nervous, its chances of being put to a full vote are uncertain. One person close to House Republican leaders said it would not be brought up in the near future, while Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has not taken a position on the bill.

尽管该法案的进展让企业紧张,但其提交国会两院全体议员投票的几率并不确定。接近众议院共和党领导人的一位人士表示,不会在不久的将来提交该法案,而参议院多数党领袖米奇.麦康奈尔(Mitch McConnell)尚未对该法案表态。