WASHINGTON, D.C. –
As concerns are raised of Russia attempting to influence the U.S.
presidential election by hacking campaign emails, one purloined record
also reveal another country, namely Azerbaijan, doing the same.
After reviewing emails on WikiLeaks,
the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) discovered correspondence
among campaign staffers discussing the legality of accepting donations
from foreign governments, such as Azerbaijan, by Foreign Agents
Registration Act (FARA) registrants. FARA is a disclosure statute that
requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political
or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their
relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts
and disbursements in support of those activities.
The Assembly had previously raised concerns
about potentially illegal activities of U.S. groups with ties to
foreign entities in Turkey and Azerbaijan. The Office of Congressional
Ethics (OCE) and the House Committee on Ethics concluded that 9 members
of Congress and more than two dozen staff members accepted a trip that
was improperly paid for by foreign corporations in Azerbaijan and
Azerbaijan’s strategy is
to influence U.S. policymakers as the Aliyev regime continues to deprive
its citizens of basic human rights and freedoms. On October 20, Human Rights Watch reported
that the Azerbaijani government has renewed its vicious crackdown on
critics and independent groups. Per this report, “Arrests in Azerbaijan
increased sharply as activists and other citizens spoke out about the
economic downturn, currency devaluation, and inflation in early 2016,
and ahead of a September constitutional referendum that expanded
presidential powers, Human Rights Watch found.”
Established in 1972, the
Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide
organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian
issues. The Assembly is a 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.