Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Force Think Tanks to Disclose Foreign Funding

Here is more from Politico:

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced new legislation that would place more stringent requirements on witnesses testifying at congressional hearings to disclose foreign funding. “Congress works best when all the cards are face up on the table,” Banks, who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, said in a statement of the proposed revisions to the so-called Truth in Testimony rule.

Banks cited a report last year from the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative that found at least $174 million in foreign funding flowed to D.C. think tanks between 2014-2018. House Democrats put in place stricter disclosure requirements for witnesses at the beginning of the current Congress, but Banks pointed to an article in The New Republic that outlined how witnesses were able to skirt the rule by appearing in their personal capacity rather than on behalf of the think tank that employs them.

Banks’ resolution aims to close that loophole, requiring witnesses to disclose “all foreign government, foreign political party, and foreign state-owned entity payments, grants, or in-kind contributions, to any nonprofit entity at which the witness is employed or working as a contractor for over $5,000 a year, regardless of whether or not the witness is testifying on their own behalf."

It would also expand the requirements to apply to fellows at think tanks and require disclosures from agents and subsidiaries of foreign governments, foreign political parties and other state-owned entities, as well as paid consultants or advisers representing individuals from countries deemed by Trump to be “foreign adversaries” (China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba).


A summary of the bill can be found here

Here are some thoughts on the move from Josh Rogin of the Washington Post.