Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Trump Admin. Demands Foreign Donor Disclosure From Think Tanks

Here is more from Politico:

The Trump administration is demanding that U.S. think tanks and academic institutions publicly disclose what funding they receive from foreign governments or otherwise risk losing access to State Department officials.

The move, unveiled in a statement Tuesday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, comes amid growing bipartisan concern about the role outside governments, ranging from China to the United Arab Emirates, play in shaping academic and policy debates in the United States.

“To protect the integrity of civil society institutions, the [State] Department requests henceforth that think tanks and other foreign policy organizations that wish to engage with the department disclose prominently on their websites funding they receive from foreign governments, including state-owned or state-operated subsidiary entities,” Pompeo said in the statement.

“Disclosure is not a requirement for engaging with such entities,” he added. “Department staff will, however, be mindful of whether disclosure has been made and of specific funding sources that are disclosed when determining whether and how to engage.”


Politico says that it is not immediately clear what prompted the demand for the disclosure, while noting that critics have long raised concerns about foreign funding of think tanks and universities.

Another Politico story says that the move has no legal force behind it.

Here is what the Washington Free Beacon had to say about the move.

Here is the statement from the US State Department.  Here is a tweet from State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus about the measure, and one from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Here is what the White House's Peter Navarro had to say.

Here is what the Atlantic Council had to say about State's announcement.

The Heritage Foundation praised the measure.

Ben Freeman, Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative (FITI), says that the State Department's announcement is "exactly" what FITI's Jan. 2020 report on foreign funding of US think tanks recommended.