Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rep. Speier's Remarks on Think Tank Funding Disclosure

In a hearing before the House Rules Committee last week, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) commented on her new proposal requiring all witnesses testifying before a congressional committee, including think tankers, to disclose any sources of foreign government funding.

In her comments, Rep. Speier said that "lobbyists and foreign governments are required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to register as foreign agents with the Department of Justice, but there is no similar requirement for think tank experts appearing before congressional committees."  She added that while funding may not distort the testimony of witnesses, the financial support should at least be disclosed to members of Congress to "appropriately address potential conflicts."

She went on to say that representatives from think tanks have testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee and Armed Services Committee "numerous times without disclosing their connections to foreign governments," and highlighted examples of testimony from scholars at Brookings, Atlantic Council, and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

A press release from Rep. Speier can be found here.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on Rep. Speier's new proposal.