Prominent US Universities Failed to Disclose $1.3 Billion in Foreign Funding

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(Illustrative Photo: Needpix.com)
(Illustrative Photo: Needpix.com)

Six prominent U.S. universities failed to report a combined total of 1.3 billion in foreign funding, according to the Department of Education (DOE).

The universities named by the Department of Education were Georgetown, Texas A&M, Cornell, Rutgers, the University of Maryland and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

China, Qatar and Russia were some of the sources of foreign funding that went unreported.

A recent letter sent to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (part of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee) by the Department of Education’s deputy general counsel, Reed Rubinstein, described preliminary results of an investigation into the six universities.

See Clarion’s EXCLUSIVE Report: Foreign Influence Ops on US Universities

The letter notes that for years these universities failed to report $1.3 billion in foreign funding “despite their clear legal duty to do so.”

Under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act, U.S. universities are required to disclose “contracts with or gifts from the same foreign source that, alone or combined, have a value of $250,000 or more for a calendar year; and/or if the institution is owned or controlled by a foreign source.”

The letter describes foreign donations to U.S. schools as “a black hole” because U.S. colleges and universities “routinely” fail to report foreign money (in fact, nearly 70% of colleges and universities fail to report foreign funding).

The letter also notes that “Qatari ‘donations’ to American colleges and universities are made strategically to advance Qatari interests.”

For years, the government of Qatar has engaged in an extensive influence operation on American campuses.

See Clarion’s Report: Qatar on Our Campuses

For example, Qatar gave over $340 million to Northwestern University to promote a partnership between Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Al Jazeera and to help train future “journalists.”

Al-Jazeera, the most influential Islamist extremist propaganda outlet in the world, is essentially an arm of the Qatari government.

Al Jazeera has a long history of spreading anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism and support for terrorist groups. This includes glorifying  Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders.

A recent Clarion Project report exposed that U.S. universities have received $10 billion in foreign funding since 2012.  A massive amount of that funding comes from foreign governments (and government-tied entities) that run influence operations in the U.S. to try to mold public opinion and policy.Qatar is the most sizable donor to U.S. universities. According to the reported DOE data, the Qatari regime has given close to $1.5 billion to 28 universities throughout the U.S. in the form of monetary gifts and contracts since 2012.

The Clarion Project also exposed how disclosure of foreign funding can be avoided with simple evasive measures.  We showed how the Iranian regime used a well-known front to send donations to about 30 universities in the U.S. and Canada.

These donations, for example, do not show up in the Education Department records of foreign funding.

In a recent interview with The Washington Examiner, DOE Secretary Betsy DeVos noted that this is just the beginning of the DOE’s investigations.

“We’re going to continue to raise the flag on this, and we think, just given what we’ve seen scratching the surface, there’s a lot there that has gone undetected,” DeVos said.

The investigations began in June with probes into foreign funding at Georgetown and Texas A&M.



Clarion EXCLUSIVE Report: Foreign Influence Ops on US Universities

Qatar Scam to Gain More Influence on US Universities 

Civilizational Suicide: Qatar’s Vision Shapes American Classrooms


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Alex VanNess

Alex VanNess is a research analyst for the Clarion Intelligence Network. He formerly served as a fellow at the Endowment for Middle East Truth, as director of the Middle East Peace and Security Project for the Center for Security Policy and as a staffer on Capitol Hill.

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