Foreign Influence in the U.S. Cloaked in Unnecessary Obscurity, Watchdog Groups Say
Outdated technology creates roadblocks to basic research on Americans lobbying for foreign governments

Recent revelations about former national security adviser Michael Flynn, center, have raised questions about loopholes in a law that requires U.S. citizens who lobby for foreign governments to register with the Department of Justice. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Want to know how much money a foreign government has spent to lobby members of Congress? How many times a lawmaker met with a lobbyist representing a foreign government? What if that person made a political donation on the same day?

Good luck finding the answers from the federal office charged with tracking American citizens who get paid to represent foreign interests in the U.S.

Obama Picks Up Pace of Filling Watchdog Vacancies
GOP leaders tight-lipped on how many might get confirmation votes

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address in January. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama is moving to fill vacant positions for federal agency watchdogs even though they would only spend a short time overseeing his administration.  

Obama in recent weeks nominated inspectors general for the Energy and Commerce departments, as well as the National Reconnaissance Office. There are a total of 11 vacancies , according to the Project on Government Oversight, which contends that IG audits and investigations identify waste, fraud and misconduct.