Clarion Project has discovered another $3.2 billion in foreign financing of U.S. universities and colleges that the schools failed to originally disclose as required by law.
The Education Department is in the midst of an investigation into the foreign financing, which a Senate investigatory report described as a “black hole.”
The discovery comes as the Clarion Project is set to release its new documentary, Covert Cash, about the foreign financing and influencing of U.S. schools.
Look for “Covert Cash” on our YouTube channel premiering Sept. 1
In September 2019, Clarion Project published a groundbreaking study that found that over $10 billion had flowed from foreign countries to U.S. universities and colleges since 2012, about one-third of which came from hostile countries known for their influence operations and anti-American propaganda.
Then, in April 2020, Clarion Project reviewed foreign financing disclosures and found approximately $1 billion in reporting discrepancies, i.e. monies that were originally undisclosed.
Institutions of higher learning are required to declare any foreign donations or contracts worth $250,000 or more to the Education Department twice per year.
However, many institutions simply did not follow the law. The recent disclosures were prompted by federal investigations. Accordingly, schools began publicly disclosing these previously unreported funds (which range from funds received in early 2013 to late 2018).
For example, in February 2020, the Department of Education announced that it was investigating Harvard and Yale for potentially failing to disclose foreign donations. Additionally, it was reported that the Dept. of Education was investigating Georgetown University and Texas A&M University for undisclosed donations from countries including Qatar, China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.
Clarion Project’s review of the latest round of disclosures found yet another $3.2 billion in reporting discrepancies. That’s over three times the discrepancies that were found in the previous round of disclosures.
The latest Education Department records show about $14.2 billion in foreign funding between January 2014 and June 2019. Previous records for this time period showed about $11 billion.
As was the case with previous disclosures, much of the funding was traced to countries which actively try to influence American hearts and minds.
The omissions present a serious threat to the country’s security and the integrity of its education system.
According to the Department of Education, the largest U.S. colleges and universities:
“[A]ctively solicit foreign governments, corporations, and nationals for funds although some donors are known to be hostile to the United States and may be seeking to project ‘soft power,’ steal sensitive and proprietary research and development data and other intellectual property, and spread propaganda benefitting foreign governments.”
Last year, a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations concluded, “Foreign government spending on U.S. schools is effectively a black hole, as there is a lack of reporting detailing the various sources of foreign government funding.”
These findings raise two important questions:
First, why are these hostile foreign entities spending so much on American colleges and universities?
The countries in question are not known for their humanitarian concern for American students. As the Department of Education notes, “Although foreign money generally flows into the largest and richest colleges and universities, such money apparently does not reduce or otherwise offset American students’ tuition costs.”
Nor do these foreign countries have unlimited resources. The return on investment is clearly worth it for them. The question is: Why?
Second, why didn’t these schools follow the law in the first place and disclose the donations?
It is hard to believe that these schools were unaware of these massive sums showing up in their bank accounts. After all, universities and colleges aren’t exactly known for making accounting mistakes when it comes to tuition and student loan payments.
It is equally hard to believe that the accountants for these schools were unaware of their legal requirements.
Why do they feel they are above the law? (And what other laws do the schools feel they can ignore?)
The following is a breakdown of the latest foreign financing disclosures:
Previous Figure of Foreign Financing Reported Between January 2014 and June 2019: $11,003,172,478
Current Figure: $14,202,253,435
The Chinese government’s massive influence operations on U.S. college campuses are now getting mainstream media attention due to numerous exposés regarding China’s establishment of over 100 Confucius Institutes on campuses across the country.
Recently, the Trump administration designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center (CIUS) as a Communist Party outpost. The designation aims to crack down on Beijing’s influence operations in America. In a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the designation will recognize “CIUS for what it is: An entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses and K-12 classrooms.”
The Chinese Ministry of Education uses an affiliate named Hanban to transfer this funding. Hanban provides the materials, chooses the activities, and selects the directors and teachers who oversee each Confucius Institute.
Chinese University of Hong Kong Willy Lam described the Institutes as “a base where Beijing’s experts in propaganda and united front work can ‘infiltrate’ their host universities and shape the opinion of scholars and students.”
In February, a bipartisan Senate Homeland Security subcommittee report recommended shutting down the Confucius Institutes. The recommendation is also supported by various organizations like the National Association of Scholars and the American Association of University Professors.
Recent disclosures show $3,497,848 in previously undisclosed funds to universities from Confucius Institutes since 2014.
Additionally, the state-controlled Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies, identified as a threat by U.S. officials, is known to dish out cash to American schools.
Huawei is the world’s leading manufacturer of base-station equipment for 5G networks. The potential for Huawei, and therefore the Chinese government, to dominate 5G is viewed as a major security concern.
In 2012, a bipartisan House Intelligence Committee report found that Huawei creates an opportunity “for further economic and foreign espionage” from China.
Last year, six U.S. intelligence chiefs, including the heads of the CIA, FBI and NSA, told the Senate Intelligence Committee they would not advise Americans to use products or services from Huawei.
Last year, Huawei’s chief financial officer was detained by Canadian law enforcement. The U.S. government has sought her extradition for Huawei’s suspected violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Since 2014, there was $6,178,416 in funds previously unreported. This sum includes a $2,983,860 monetary gift from the Huawei affiliate Futurewei Technologies to the University of California, Berkeley.
The omission of Russian funding comes from three schools which previously failed to disclose eight contracts and monetary gifts between 2014 and 2019.
Russia has a long history of targeting U.S. universities for infiltration, influence operations and intelligence-gathering.
The Russian government has an ideological strategy based on fueling “the War of the Extremes” in the West by intensifying political and racial tensions. Vladimir Putin has also found an ally in white supremacist and anti-government movements.
The discrepancy amount is from 57 universities which failed to disclose 261 contracts and monetary gifts from Saudi Arabia.
The government of Saudi Arabia is responsible for the worldwide spread of the puritanical, theocratic and anti-Western Salafi ideology called “Wahhabism.” The Saudi government is also known to spend lavishly on lobbying and influence operations in the U.S.
The discrepancies are from 12 schools which failed to disclose 108 Qatari contracts and monetary gifts between 2014 and 2019.
The government of Qatar is known for sponsoring terrorism, Islamist extremism and running some of the most extensive influence operations in America.
Its influence operations run the gamut from political corruption and manipulating media outlets to funding think-tanks, activist organizations and mosques.
The Qatar Foundation — a government-supported, terror-tied “charity” — covers the expenses for six U.S. universities to have campuses in Qatar: Texas A&M, Virginia Commonwealth, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern and Georgetown — at a reported cost of approximately $405 million per year.
Qatar is responsible for funding clearly nefarious activities on campuses, with Northwestern University serving as an explanatory case. For example, according to the school’s own published words, the purpose of its Qatar campus is to assist Al-Jazeera, the most influential extremist network in the Middle East which is essentially an arm of the government of Qatar.
Even worse, the stated purpose of the program was to facilitate the sharing of expertise “as the news network moves forward with its planning for Al-Jazeera America” (this was written in 2013).
Qatar has even funded at least one radical Northwestern University professor, Justin Martin.
In September 9 2019, Martin tweeted:
“Happy 9/11 more than 8,441 civilians died in Yemen this year helped by US arms dealt to Saudi Arabia & UAE. The US is complicit in far more terror than it has ever suffered”
(The president of Northwestern University publicly condemned the tweet.)
Clarion Project subsequently discovered that Professor Martin had received two huge grants from the Qatar Foundation totaling over $1.3 million since 2014.
Neither had been disclosed to the Department of Education as is legally required.
The discrepancy amount comes from six universities failing to disclose 25 contracts and monetary gifts.
NATO “ally” Turkey is currently governed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the founder of the Islamist party known as the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The party is essentially the Turkish wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Turkish government under Erdogan and the AKP has basically transformed Turkey into an Islamist dictatorship and a sponsor of terrorism and extremism.
Under Erdogan, the Turkish government has become one of the main patrons of the Muslim Brotherhood and is allied with Qatar. Erdogan is also forging better relationships with Iran and Russia at the expense of Turkey’s relationships with the U.S. and other NATO members.
Most recently, despite anger from the State Department, Erdogan hosted a large Hamas delegation in Istanbul on August 22. The delegation included Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S. who praised Hamas’ abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers (including a U.S. citizen) as a “heroic operation.”
In addition, Erdogan recently offered citizenship to Hamas senior members whom he allows to reside in Turkey (citizenship makes it far easier for them to travel worldwide).
Turkey supports a variety of other Sunni extremists, including affiliates of Al-Qaeda, and has been accused of assisting ISIS. Since 2012, Turkey has reportedly been one of the top financial supporters of Hamas, with Erdogan arranging for the transfer of $250-300 million to the terrorist group annually.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The discrepancy amount comes from 76 undisclosed monetary gifts and contracts with 14 schools.
The UAE is a U.S. ally that has banned the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, including U.S.-based organizations linked to the Islamist extremist movement, like the Council on American-Islamist Relations (CAIR). However, the UAE is still known for having a poor human rights record and having influence operations, including ones aimed at U.S. elections.