Friday, January 31, 2020

New Study: Explosion of Foreign Funding at US Think Tanks

Foreign governments have given the top 50 US think tanks more than $174 million from 2014-2018, according to a new report by the Center for International Policy's (CIP) Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative (FITI).

The nearly 900 different donations to those 50 think tanks came from more than 80 different countries and international institutions.

According to the report, the top recipient of foreign funding was the World Resources Institute (WRI), with an eye-popping $63 million.  WRI was followed by the Center for Global Development (CGD), which received $37,580,000.  Next was the Brookings Institution, which received $27,350,000.

Here are the top 15 recipients of foreign funding:
  1. WRI: $63,000,000
  2. CGD: $37,580,000
  3. Brookings: $27,350,000
  4. Atlantic Council: $12,192,000
  5. Aspen Institute: $8,418,574
  6. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: $$7,025,000
  7. German Marshall Fund: $6,249,998
  8. New America: $2,804,058
  9. Center for American Progress (CAP): $2,490,000
  10. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS): $1,930,000 
  11. Urban Institute: $1,060,000
  12. Hudson Institute: $870,000
  13. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions: $806,000
  14. Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE): $725,000
  15. Chicago Council on Global Affairs: $624,177

Here are the top 15 donor countries/institutions to US think tanks:
  1. Norway: $27,681,856
  2. United Kingdom: $27,123,775
  3. United Arab Emirates: $15,406,016
  4. Germany: $12,250,999
  5. Sweden: $9,313,999
  6. Australia: $9,231,000
  7. The Netherlands: $9,200,050
  8. Qatar: $8,500,600
  9. Canada: $6,712,250
  10. Denmark: $5,543,000
  11. Japan: $4,856,774
  12. United Nations: $4,720,500
  13. World Bank: $3,485,700
  14. Switzerland: $3,395,500
  15. Taiwan: $3,250,000

Interestingly, it appears that many think tankers do not even know the funders of their own think tanks.

Think Tank Watch should note that many colleges and universities also receive significant amounts of funding from foreign governments and international institutions.  George Washington University, for example, has received $80 million in funding from foreign governments in recent years.

And the Wall Street Journal has just reported that the US Department of Education has opened an investigation into Harvard and Yale as part of a continuing review that it says has found US universities failed to report at least $6.5 billion in foreign funding.

Update: Here is what Dan Drezner of Tufts University thinks about FITI's new report.