The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a US think tank, is reporting that a new bipartisan bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives addressing the dangers of foreign influences seeking to corrupt US elections, government officials, and think tanks. According to THE REPORT:
June 16, 2022 Just four days after the resignation of Brookings president John Allen, following the disclosure of a federal investigation into whether he secretly lobbied for Qatar, new legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives addressing the dangers of foreign influences seeking to corrupt U.S. elections, government officials, and think tanks. The legislation, “Fighting Foreign Influence Act,” sponsored by Rep. Jared Golden (D‑ME), would require tax exempt organizations, including think tanks, to disclose large contributions from foreign governments or foreign political parties, impose a lifetime ban on former U.S. military officers, presidents, vice presidents, senior executive branch officials, and members of Congress from lobbying for foreign principals, and require political campaigns to verify that online donations can be tied to a valid U.S. address. “Non-profit organizations and partisan think tanks play an outsized role in shaping public opinion and influencing policy decisions in the United States,” said Rep. Lance Gooden (R‑TX), in a press release. “We must understand where these groups get their funding, who influences their agenda, and if adversarial nations are using non-profit groups to undermine the United States. The Fighting Foreign Influence Act would ensure there is finally transparency and accountability in the non-profit sector.”
Read the rest here.
The report notes that the new bill’s sponsors cited a 2020 study on foreign funding of US think tanks that revealed how at least $174 million flowed from foreign governments to US think tanks between 2014 and 2018.
This week, the Global Influence Operations Report reported that the president of the influential Brookings Institution resigned Sunday amid a federal investigation into whether he illegally lobbied on behalf of Qatar. We have previously reported that Qatar has been ramping up its lobbying efforts in the US, eager to cultivate a closer relationship with the Biden administration and Congress. Other GIOR reporting on foreign lobbying efforts in the US has included:
- In February, we reported that many US lobbying firms were cutting ties with their Russian clients due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- In November, we reported that Turkey hired at least eleven US lobby firms in 2020.
- In May 2021, we reported that China had become the top spender on foreign influence operations in the US, with Chinese foreign agent spending skyrocketing from just over $10 million in 2016 to nearly $64 million in 2020.