Sunday, January 20, 2019

Hudson Official Quits After Learning of Donation from Putin-Linked Billionaire

Here is more from the New York Post:

Chaos has erupted at a conservative think tank after it was revealed that one of its new donors is Len Blavatnik, the Ukrainian-born billionaire who owns the Warner Music record label.
Charles Davidson — the founder of the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, a group dedicated to exposing threats by authoritarian regimes to US democracy — said he quit as its executive director upon learning that the Hudson Institute had accepted a $50,000 donation from Blavatnik.
Russian kleptocracy has entered the donor pool of Hudson Institute,” Davidson said in an exclusive interview with The Post. “Blavatnik is precisely what the Kleptocracy Initiative is fighting against — the influence of Putin’s oligarchs on America’s political system and society — and the importation of corrupt Russian business practices and values.”

Think tank donations have come under intense scrutiny in recent years, an many influential think tanks have been rocked by pay-for-play schemes involving foreign money.

A piece that recently appeared in the Washington Post has called on think tanks to sign a "democracy pledge" to accept funding only from democracies.

Interestingly, Hudson says that it "does not seek or accept financial contributions from non-democratic foreign governments or groups or individuals acting on their behalf."