Friday, February 15, 2013

Atlantic Council Releases Donor List

The Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS) released a document last week that details the foreign governments, businesses, and other that have funded the think tank.

The document was released after Senate Republicans demanded the financial information from Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, who is Chairman of ACUS.  Here is a letter requesting information about ACUS funding.

A letter dated February 8, 2013 says that Hagel's position as Chairman of ACUS has been on a pro bono basis since he got that position in February 2009.

As for funding, the document says that ACUS does not make public a comprehensive list of all its donors.  ACUS says is publicly acknowledges corporate donors of $5,000 or more.  ACUS attached a list of foreign corporate donors to the Council over the past five years.  That list contains 102 corporations.

The document also includes a list of "foreign government entities" that have funded ACUS over the past five years.  That list contains eight entities:
  • State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR)
  • DEPA Public Gas Corporation (Greece)
  • JP Transnafta (Serbia)
  • Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS) (Turkey)
  • Istanbul Natural Gas Distribution Co. (IGDAS) (Turkey)
  • Turkey Army College
  • The Electricity Generation Company (EUAS) (Turkey)
  • Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) (Turkey) 
Lastly, the list includes foreign governments that have funded ACUS over the past five years.  That list contains 16 governments:
  • Bahrain
  • European Commission
  • Finland
  • Georgia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Luxembourg
  • Montenegro
  • NATO
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The list can be found here.

The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin discusses the Atlantic Council memo and writes about Hagle's "complicated ties."  In another post, she quotes a "disgusted" Senate staffer as saying that "the fact that the Atlantic Council is unable to simply release the Schedule B from their Form 990s over the last five years suggests they are concealing donors that could sink the nomination."

The Free Beacon notes that some Senate Republicans are not happy with the Atlantic Council's "limited disclosure."

The Free Beacon reports that multiple foreign corporations that have bypassed or attempted to bypass US or EU sanctions against Iran are funding ACUS.

The Free Beacon also suggests that Hagel has "nefarious" ties to Kazakhstan and Chevron via ACUS.

In a Washington Post opinion piece, former Rep. John Tanner (D-TN), who has served on the ACUS Board, comes out in defense of Hagel.

ACUS was recently rated as the 17th best think tank in the US by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings. It was also ranked as the 19th best think tank in the world in terms of best external relations/public engagement program.