DOE Launches Investigations Into Harvard and Yale

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Flags fly at the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard post commencement (Photo: Flickr'Iam Lamont/harvardextended.blogspot.com)
Flags fly at the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard post commencement (Photo: Flickr’Iam Lamont/harvardextended.blogspot.com)

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced yesterday that it would be launching investigations into the foreign gift reporting from Harvard and Yale universities.

U.S. universities that receive foreign gifts valued at $250,000 or more are required by law to file a disclosure report with the DOE twice a year.

Both Harvard and Yale are said to have failed in their reporting of hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign gifts and contracts. The DOE discovered Yale may have failed to report at least $375 million in foreign gifts and contracts.

This information comes after the news of the recent arrest of a leading Harvard University scientist who concealed over $2 million in funds from Chinese sources.

According to prosecutors, nanotechnology pioneer Charles Lieber lied to U.S. government investigators about receiving Chinese talent-plan funding. Lieber is alleged to have signed a contract with Chinese counterparts to establish a research lab at the Wuhan University of Technology.

Clarion Project reported about a recent letter from the DOE’s deputy general counsel, Reed Rubinstein, who described some preliminary results of an investigation into six universities.

The letter describes foreign donations to U.S. schools as a “black hole” and claims that for years Georgetown, Texas A&M, Cornell, Rutgers, the University of Maryland and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) failed to report a combined total of 1.3 billion in foreign funding.

Since July, DOE is said to have discovered more than $6 billion in unreported foreign gifts from countries including Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. universities are rife with dark money. A recent audit of officials within Texas A&M University noted that more than 100 officials were involved with a Chinese talent-recruitment program. Out of all these officials, only five have disclosed their participation.

Last year, an extensive review of DOE’s records by Clarion Project noted that over $10 billion has flowed from foreign entities to U.S. universities between 2012 and the end of 2018.

This report noted that according to DOE records at the time, Chinese interests were reported as having given $680,273,016 to 87 separate U.S. universities in the form of gifts and contracts.

The most recent DOE disclosure report, which includes data from the first half of 2019 was released January 31, 2020. According to this data, China has provided $111,756,254 to U.S. universities in the first half of 2019 alone.

Additionally, a recent Clarion review of the new DOE disclosures show over $135 million in funds that were not reported in previous spreadsheets provided by the DOE.

These discrepancies include $79,040,435 in previously unreported funds from China in 2018; $10,344,544 in 2017; $43,577,980 discrepancies in 2016 and $2,519,545 in 2015.



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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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