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  • “Stop foreign governments from buying American think tanks”

    Posted by Jonathan on September 21st, 2014 (All posts by )

    Matthew Continetti:

    It is one thing if Tom Steyer gives money to further causes that would harm his opponents and benefit his allies. Steyer is, I regretfully admit, an American. But it is another thing entirely when a foreign government self-interestedly enters policy debates—and does so in secret.
     
    Many of the countries giving to think tanks are American allies like Norway: NATO powers, Japan, South Korea, France. They would have to comply with my beefed up FARA as well. And yes, haters, so would Israel, should Israel actually donate money to U.S. think tanks, which it does not.
     
    But these allies have nothing to fear from transparency. They already have constituencies in the American political system. Many of them have treaty guarantees. And Israel has a broad, deep, and thriving community of supporters both Jewish and Christian. There will always be an Israel “lobby” because of the ethnic and religious and ideological connections between our two countries. There is no Qatari lobby without Qatari money.

    It makes sense to require US political nonprofits to disclose foreign monetary contributions.

    (Via Instapundit.)

     

    6 Responses to ““Stop foreign governments from buying American think tanks””

    1. MikeK Says:

      “It makes sense to require US political nonprofits to disclose foreign monetary contributions.”

      And candidates but they won’t. Clinton and Obama are prime examples. Even Clinton did not have the guys to disable verification for credit card donations. It’s turtles all the way down.

    2. fiona Says:

      The Sierra club comes to mind – another embarrassing to the left moment down the memory hole. Remember when the founder left because Saudi money was fueling the anti-fracking drive? Yeh. me neither, obviously never happened.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      This has also been a major political issue in Israel since it became widely known that leftist Israeli NGOs that oppose the Netanyahu govt’s policies are bankrolled by countries hostile to Israel.

      Lobbying is inherent in representative govt. However, lobbying on behalf of undisclosed foreign donors is a problem for the same reasons that illegal voting by non-citizens is a problem.

    4. vxxc2014 Says:

      Invaluable tool for examining lobbying is Al-Monitor series on regional lobbying that ran August 2014. “The Influence Game.”

      Al-Monitor is Christian Science Monitor mid-east outlet, including Israel.

      http://www.al-monitor.com/lobbying

      The problem is our government is for sale and has been utterly given over to moneymaking from office since the Cold War ended. Clinton of course institutionalizes this with Treasury & Federal Reserve becoming Goldman Sachs Washington Desk.

      The problem is all American. Not any foreigners. None of them. It’s our problem and we’d better deal with it.

    5. MikeK Says:

      “The problem is all American. Not any foreigners.”

      The Saudis have been the State Department’s retirement plan for decades. Some of them have influenced US policy for foreign interests, like Joe Wilson of “Yellow Cake” fame.

      “Walker, the former assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, is president of the Middle East Institute in Washington, which promotes understanding with the Arab world. Its board chairman is former senator Wyche Fowler, ambassador to Riyadh in the second Clinton administration. Saudi contributions covered $200,000 of the institute’s $1.5 million budget last year, Walker said.”

      Joe Wilson was a fellow. Just more evidence that US policy is for sale.

    6. Sgt. Mom Says:

      “Joe Wilson was a fellow. Just more evidence that US policy is for sale.”

      I have read here and there that Saudi funding of chairs for middle east and Arab studies also corrupts academia – and may be a reason for vicious campus-based anti-antisemitism.