Thursday, January 19, 2023

Atlantic Council Caught Promoting Its Own Foreign Donors on World Stage Without Disclosures

The influential think tank Atlantic Council has been called out yet again for promoting its donors without proper conflict of interest disclosures.

Here is more from Politico:

WHOOPS: “The Atlantic Council's chief executive officer, Fred Kempe, this month lavished praise on the ‘resource-rich, renewables-generating’ United Arab Emirates in a Jan. 14 op-ed for CNBC praising the oil-rich Gulf nation's ‘utopian’ plan to fight climate change,” The Washington Free Beacon’s Chuck Ross writes. “What he failed to mention were the Middle Eastern monarchy's sizable donations—which have in some years topped $1 million—to the Atlantic Council.”

— “In the piece, Kempe celebrated the United Nations' decision to hold its annual climate change summit in Abu Dhabi and praised the UAE’s selection of Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, an Emirati government minister and the head of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, to oversee the global summit.”

— “After the Washington Free Beacon contacted the Atlantic Council for comment, CNBC attached a lengthy editor's note to the article noting that ‘the obvious conflict of interest’ was ‘not disclosed’ and that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is a major sponsor of the Atlantic Council's annual energy conference.”

— “The UAE embassy in 2021 gave more than $1 million to the Atlantic Council, while the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation gave between $100,000 and $250,000, according to donor records.” A spokesperson for the think tank called the omission an oversight, telling the Free Beacon it “regret[s] that proper disclosures were not made.”


Mr. Kempe is also scheduled to be on a World Economic Forum (WEF) panel about "how great" Saudi Arabia is, and Quincy Institute scholar Ben Freeman says that it should be disclosed at the panel that Kempe's think tank gets $1+ million every year from the UAE (a Saudi ally) and six-figure checks every year from defense contractors that have made billions of dollars selling arms to Saudi Arabia.

In 2021, Jonathan Guyer wrote a piece about a Saudi expert at Atlantic Council (Kirsten Fontenrose) who "hid" the foreign funding of the think tank when testifying before Congress.  He noted that Atlantic Council has received millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia's biggest boosters.

Here is more about Atlantic Council's recent conflict of interest problems from Eli Clifton.