IDA Ireland admits to repeatedly breaking US law in failing to disclose its finances and activities

IDA Ireland has admitted to repeatedly breaking US law in failing to appropriately declare its finances or activities to the US government for seven years in a row. The organisation was for a time probed by the US Justice Department as a result of this lawbreaking.

According to documents published by the US Justice Department, IDA Ireland did not report its finances or activities between 2011 and 2017, a requirement of the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). A spokesperson admitted to The Ditch, “In 2018 the FARA inspection team pointed out that the online filing of returns had not taken place since 2010.”

The IDA Ireland spokesperson said the organisation, having been asked by the US Justice Department to sort out its affairs by 1 October, 2018, " complied with this request". Violating FARA carries a penalty of $10,000 or up to five years in prison.

Activities: none. Finances: none

Under US law, any agent representing a foreign state must disclose their association with that state. These agents are required to give details about their activities, as well as the funds spent and received in support of those activities.

All people or organisations in the US acting on behalf of other states must file statements every six months outlining their activities and finances.

IDA Ireland did not file this form for seven years.

From 2011 to 2017, IDA Ireland’s finances and activities are declared as “none” in the US’s annual report on foreign agents. 

The organisation eventually filed for these years in late 2018.

The Ditch can also reveal that IDA Ireland failed to declare its activities or finances to the US government for the first six months of 2007, the second six months of 2008 and the entirety of 2009. 

It ultimately declared for these periods in July 2010. ­

When the US attorney general determines that a foreign principal has not complied with the relevant legislation, the office typically sends a written notice outlining the rule-breaking.

It is not clear whether IDA Ireland was subject to a fine or if any member of staff was subject to criminal prosecution or proceedings.

An IDA Ireland spokesperson confirmed to The Ditch its failures to file.

"In 2018, IDA Ireland met with the US Department of Justice in relation to its compliance with requirements under FARA. At that meeting, it was established that IDA Ireland had continued to pay its registration fees and was up-to-date with the payment of those fees.  

“However, the FARA inspection team pointed out that the online filing of returns had not taken place since 2010. The inspection team requested that IDA Ireland bring its appropriate filings fully up-to-date by 1 October, 2018.  IDA Ireland subsequently complied with this request and since then all IDA Ireland FARA filings are up to date.”   

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors