Thursday, February 29, 2024

Atlantic Council Axes Major Donor

Here is more from Politico:

The Atlantic Council terminated its relationship with a major donor, Gaurav Srivastava, after the think tank couldn’t confirm important details of his background in its donor vetting process, Daniel reports. Srivastava and his wife Sharon donated at least $1 million to the think tank for its Global Food Security Forum in Bali in November 2022.

— Srivastava last October was the subject of an unflattering profile by the news outlet Project Brazen that suggested misconduct on his part; a lawyer for Srivastava, who was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record, told PI that the allegations in the article were “categorically false.” Bradley Hope, a co-author of the story and a former Wall Street Journal reporter, told PI in an email that “we stand by our story.” The termination of the relationship with the Atlantic Council has not been previously reported.

— “All funds received by the Atlantic Council from Mr. Srivastava for the Global Food Security Forum were dedicated to and used for the event,” a spokesperson for the Atlantic Council told PI. “We did, however, return funding received from Mr. Srivastava in 2023 for future collaboration.”

— “We made the decision to terminate our relationship with Mr. Srivastava in May 2023 upon learning new information because of our donor review process. For example, we learned that The Gaurav & Sharon Srivastava Family Foundation was not an established 501C3 in April of 2023, despite Mr. Srivastava’s representation to the Council that this was a registered foundation,” the spokesperson continued.


Here is a link to the Gaurav & Sharon Srivastava Family Foundation, which says it was founded in 2015.

The above-mentioned Project Brazen news outlet says that Gaurav Srivastava is an "alleged serial con man who pretended to be part of a little-known CIA program to swindle an oil trader."

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Think Tank Used to Defeat Trump in 2020 is Relaunched

Here is more from Axios: 

Veterans of the Obama administration are re-launching an advocacy group, National Security Action, to make the case for President Biden's re-election based on his foreign policy, according to a memo obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: National Security Action was originally co-founded in 2018 by Jake Sullivan — now Biden's national security adviser — and Ben Rhodes, the former deputy national security adviser for Barack Obama.

Zoom out: The group's leaders didn't expect to get involved in campaigns after Biden beat Trump in 2020, but the former president's resurgence led them to try to get involved in the 2024 election.


Here is the website for National Security Action.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Leaked Files From China Show Think Tanks as Targets of Hacking Campaign

Here is more from the Washington Post:

A trove of leaked documents from a Chinese state-linked hacking group shows that Beijing’s intelligence and military groups are attempting large-scale, systematic cyber intrusions against foreign governments, companies and infrastructure — with hackers of one company claiming to be able to target users of Microsoft, Apple and Google.

The cache — containing more than 570 files, images and chat logs — offers an unprecedented look inside the operations of one of the firms that Chinese government agencies hire for on-demand, mass data-collecting operations.

Most of the targets were in Asia, though iSoon received requests for hacks further afield. Chat logs included in the leak describe selling unspecified data related to NATO in 2022. It’s not clear whether the data was collected from publicly available sources or extracted in a hack.

Another file shows employees discussing a list of targets in Britain, including its Home and Foreign offices as well as its Treasury. Also on the list were British think tanks Chatham House and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.


Entities linked to Chinese state hacking groups have targeted NGOs and think tanks across Asia, Europe, Central America, and the US.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Head of Washington Policy Center Resigns Amid Turmoil

Here is more from the Seattle Times:

The head of the Washington Policy Center, a prominent conservative think tank, has resigned in a move he said was voluntary but which followed complaints by some staff of a toxic workplace and poor financial stewardship.

Michael Gallagher, the president and CEO of the Seattle-based nonprofit since March 2022, announced his departure in a news release and statement this week.

Over the past year, Gallagher had been the subject of some staff complaints alleging verbal abuse and questioning his work ethic and expenses, according to internal documents obtained by The Seattle Times.

Gallagher's annual compensation was $374,000 is 2022.

The article notes that WPC is an affiliate of the State Policy Network, a 50-state association of like-minded free-market groups.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Arson Suspected at Offices of Conservative Think Tanks in MN

Here is more from CCX Media:

A fire ripped through a Golden Valley office complex early Sunday morning, damaging the offices of several conservative organizations.

The building is located south of Interstate 394 and east of Highway 169. Tenants in the building believe their offices were targeted.

“I think there’s some disruption and some uneasiness about somebody who would want to do this to our building,” said Bill Walsh, director of marketing and communications for the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank.

Walsh says his office, along with two other conservative organizations — TakeCharge Minnesota on the first floor, and the Upper Midwest Law Center on the third floor — all sustained damage in a fire that occurred around 2 a.m. on Jan. 28.


The conservative groups are calling the fire an act of "political terrorism."

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Think Tank Quickies (#490)

  • Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts says he sees the think tank's role as "institutionalizing Trumpism."   [WaPo's Josh Rogin calls the interview "disgraceful."]
  • Hansjorg Wyss, the Swiss billionaire cast by US conservatives as the "New Soros," is a member of the board of the Center for American Progress (CAP).
  • "That may be the real lesson at Davos: Everyone is winging it, experts and schlubs alike, muddling through with at best fragmentary understandings of a fast-moving world and its inscrutable future," notes Politico's John Harris in a piece entitled "Why the Davos Smart Set Sounds Dumb."
  • A think tank run by former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is leading a $1 billion effort to spur US hydrogen production.
  • Chaguan (Economist) attended the Stockholm China Forum, a private gathering in Singapore of American, Chinese and European officials and scholars convened by the German Marshall Fund and Sweden's foreign ministry. 
  • Jens Stoltenberg speaks at Heritage Foundation - "the latest pilgrimage by a global ally to appeal to increasingly isolationist conservatives."
  • PIIE scholar Chad Bown becomes chief economist at the US State Department.
  • Meet the think tank behind the agribusiness' legislative wins in Brazil. 
  • President of the Center for China and Globalization, Henry Huiyao Wang, has a new book on think tanks.
  • Nippon Steel sent delegation to Washington to talk with think tank analysts about CFIUS review related to its acquisition of US Steel.
  • Companies are re-thinking the in-house think tank.