Parliament Speaker claims domestic bill on transparency “does not even come close to” US analogue in regulatory strictness

The Georgian bill has been met with public protests and criticism by some of the country’s foreign partners. Photo: Parliament of Georgia, 07 May 2024 - 12:18, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Monday claimed the controversial domestic bill on transparency of foreign influence “does not even come close” to a similar law in the United States in terms of “strictness” of its regulations.

Papuashvili’s comments followed after Matthew Miller, the Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, on Monday rejected parallels between the legislative pieces in the two countries by saying “when you see the United States Foreign Agents Registration Act, it is to people who are acting on behalf of a foreign government, not people who are doing legitimate non government organisation work”.

Miller was making the comment following the Georgian Government's drawing of similarities between the FARA and the Georgian bill that calls for registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets in the country as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they derive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad.

In his response, Papuashvili said activities of Giuli Alasania, the mother of Georgia’s imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili and David Kezerashvili, the wanted former Defence Minister in the United National Movement Government, had been recorded in a FARA register.

It is probably not disputed that neither one nor the other [...] have been ‘persons acting on behalf of the Government of Georgia’ for 12 years now”, Papuashvili said in a social media message.

The chief Georgian legislator further claimed it was “this kind of superficiality and untruthful information that is encouraging radical groups in the country”.

“Let's keep in mind that the Georgian transparency law cannot even come close to the American one in terms of the strictness of the regulations. It does not apply to natural persons, does not consider criminal liability, etc”, he concluded.

The Georgian bill has been met with public protests and criticism by some of the country’s foreign partners.