State Department is Clamping Down On Policy Advisers Receiving Foreign Cash

On October 13, 2020, the U.S. State Department announced that is currently requesting that all think tanks working with the department reveal significant sums of dollars that they receive from foreign governments.

“To protect the integrity of our relationships with think tanks and related institutions we’re taking a simple step to encourage transparency: think tanks that wish to engage with the @StateDept should disclose funding they receive from foreign governments,” State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus tweeted.

Although the statement said that the department holds relationships with “academic community, think tanks, and various external sources of expertise in foreign affairs” in high esteem, it also asserted that those relationships run the risk of falling under foreign influence from countries such as China and the Russia.

“We hope one day soon that U.S. efforts to promote free and open dialogue about economic and personal liberty, equal citizenship, the rule of law, and authentic civil society, will be possible in places such as China and Russia,” the statement proclaimed.

On top of this, the State Department is requesting that any foreign policy organizations working with the department publicly disclose on their websites any funding originating from foreign governments.

“The unique role of think tanks in the conduct of foreign affairs makes transparency regarding foreign funding more important than ever. To protect the integrity of civil society institutions, the Department requests henceforth that think tanks and other foreign policy organizations that wish to engage with the Department disclose prominently on their websites funding they receive from foreign governments, including state-owned or state-operated subsidiary entities,” the statement outlined.

John Davidson of the Federalist explained what will happen to think tanks who do not fully disclose their funding:

While the State Department clarifies that this disclosure will not be a requisite for a working relationship, the statement clearly conveys that a lack of disclosure will play a part in the use of any information provided by think tanks reluctant to publish their funding information.

“Disclosure is not a requirement for engaging with such entities. Department staff will, however, be mindful of whether disclosure has been made and of specific funding sources that are disclosed when determining whether and how to engage,” the statement clarified.

This request came at a time when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Trump Administration are emphasizing more vigilance against Chinese influence.

“There is a bipartisan consensus in Washington of the challenges from the Chinese Communist Party. I say that because what the Trump administration has tried to do is, is for the first time take on this challenge in a serious way,” Pompeo proclaimed.

This is a smart move given the rising threat of China. The country is using subversive ways to spready its influence and is ready to fight unconventionally in this Great Power struggle.

This same logic of disclosing funding coming from foreign sources needs to apply to every other nation whose interests do not align with America’s.