The U.S. Education Department has ordered Georgetown University and Texas A&M University to disclose years of financial records as part of the government entity’s formal investigation into foreign funding at American educational institutions.
According to the Associated Press, both schools were sent letters indicating the Trump administration’s concerns – which recently came into the spotlight after media reports unveiled years of financial backing from Middle Eastern and other foreign countries — that they have not fully reported foreign gifts and contracts they received to the federal government.
Specifically, the letters acquired by the AP accused the schools of failing to report gifts and contract they had obtained which were tied to their branch campuses in the Gulf nation Qatar.
The Department of Education requires that all post-secondary schools report foreign gifts of $250,000 or more from a single source within a calendar year of receiving them.
Georgetown has reportedly received nearly $333 million from Qatar since 2011. Federal law requires colleges and universities to report gifts or contracts with foreign sources over $5250,000 or more annually. This funding has allowed the school to open the Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), which is located in the nation’s capital, Doha.
The AP also noted that “Nearly all of Georgetown’s foreign money reported for 2018 came from sources in Qatar, including $33 million from the Qatar Foundation, a nonprofit that has a partnership with Georgetown to support the school’s campus in Qatar.” The Qatar foundation is headed by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
However, Qatar – a nation suspected of having international links to terrorism — is not the only nation from which records of funding are being requested. Federal investigators are reportedly also demanding records of funding from China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.
A bipartisan Senate report earlier this year found that nearly 70 percent of U.S. schools took money from a Chinese propaganda program, namely the Ministry of Education Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban in Chinese), and broke the law by failing to properly disclose this to the Department of Education.
According to the report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Since 2006, the Subcommittee determined China directly provided over $158 million in funding to U.S. schools for Confucius Institutes.
Further, the report found that former member of the Chinese government, Li Changchun, said in a 2011 speech that “Confucius Institutes are an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up” and that the program “has made an important contribution toward improving our soft power … Using the excuse of teaching Chinese language, everything looks reasonable and logical.”
Both Georgetown and Texas A&M were also asked to disclose funding from Huawei and ZTE, Chinese firms suspected of spying.
Georgetown was reportedly also asked about possible ties to Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, as well as Saudi Arabian money.
In October it was reported that Georgetown — a Jesuit Catholic university — received $20 million to set up the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU), named after the patron who donated the second-largest gift in university history at the time.
According to the Department of Education, the top foreign funders of American universities between 2011-2016 are Qatar ($1,024,065,043), England ($761,584,394), Saudi Arabia ($613,608,797), China ($426,526,085), Canada ($402,535,603), and Hong Kong ($394,446,859).
Georgetown released a statement in response to the letter saying it “takes seriously its reporting obligations and provides all information as required by the Department of Education every six months.”
Texas A&M also issued a statement. “We just received the document today from the U.S. Department of Education and are reviewing it. We are fully cooperating with the inquiry.”
Democrat Congressmen Introduce Term Limits Legislation for SCOTUS Justices As Trump Prepares Nominee
Three Democrat members of Congress are introducing legislation to institute term limits for Supreme Court justices, as President Trump prepares to nominate his third candidate for the court following the death of progressive liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Democrats Joe Kennedy, Ro Khanna, and Don Beyer are proposing legislation that would limit SCOTUS justice to a maximum term of eighteen years on the court.
Lifetime appointments to the highest court in our land undermine our democratic process and erode progress in our nation.
We must enact 18 year term limits on our Supreme Court justices to continue our march towards a more perfect union. https://t.co/9fCyggP686
— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) September 25, 2020
Khanna has proposed an idea that would allow Presidents to appoint two judges in each term. “Senior” members of the court would be required to basically retired for every new member of the court.
When I first ran for Congress in 2014, I proposed limiting terms of Supreme Court Justice to 18-appointments.
Given the recent, dramatic politicization of the Court, it's time for real reform.
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) September 25, 2020
It’s pretty funny the Democrats are uniting behind these proposals the moment they appear primed to lose control of the Supreme Court for a generation. They weren’t complaining when Obama was trying to replace Antonin Scalia with progressive Merrick Garland, even going so far as claiming that the stealth liberal was entitled to the seat. Reports emerging Friday suggest that President Donald Trump intends to nominate Amy Coney Barrett, a mostly conservative judge with a pro-life and immigration hawk judicial record.
The judicial branch of government is arguably the most flawed element of American governance, and it’s highly questionable how institutions such as the Supreme Court are able to appoint themselves a nearly unlimited amount of political power.
A better reform proposals would be to institute term limits for justices that only go into effect after the current members of the court vacate their seats. Anything else is simply a political power grab.
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