February 25, 2015
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Friday morning at CPAC, I will outline the urgent need for a thorough Congressional investigation into efforts by our enemies to buy influence in the American political and governmental system.
We now have more than enough evidence that our political and intellectual communities are being penetrated by cash from foreign regimes in ways that are potentially very dangerous to the future of our free society.
Congress has an obligation to establish how big the problem is and to consider new laws to protect American politics and government from being undermined and distorted by foreign opponents buying their way into positions of influence.
We faced this problem in the 1940s and 1950s, when the Soviet Union was financing efforts to penetrate American society and government. A series of congressional hearings, laws, and landmark cases led to a dramatic decline in Soviet influence in our system.
Now we have new efforts to influence us by foreign dictatorships buying influence.
The amount of money the Clintons have collected from dictatorships in the Middle East through their foundation raises profound questions. Americans deserve to know about the process by which a potential future president accepts money from people who, at best, have values totally unacceptable to most Americans and who at worst are funding the very terrorists who want to kill us and destroy our civilization.
As the Wall Street Journal reported this month, the Clinton Foundation recently resumed accepting money from foreign governments, a practice it had stopped in 2009 when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. Now among the Foundation’s recent donors, according to the report, are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar.
The amount of money is as startling as the sources. According to the Journal analysis, the UAE gave the Clinton Foundation between $1 and $5 million last year. Saudi Arabia has given between $10 million and $25 million since 1999. Qatar, widely known also to fund Hamas (a designated terrorist group), has given the Clinton Foundation up to $5 million. Oman has given a similar amount.
Countries better-aligned with American values, including Germany and Australia, have given millions more but still pose important conflicts of interest.
Yet to be fair to the Clintons, the purchase of influence by foreign countries through donations to American institutions is widespread.
Many of America’s leading think tanks and universities now take money from the very countries they are supposedly studying. So-called scholars show up on television without informing the audience of how much they are making from the countries they are analyzing.
A New York Times investigation last fall concluded that “more than a dozen prominent Washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities.” Significantly, the Times found, “policy makers who rely on think tanks are often unaware of the role of foreign governments in funding the research.”
Qatar, for instance, recently committed nearly $15 million to one of Washington’s top think tanks. The money funded an “affiliate in Qatar and a project on United States relations with the Islamic world,” according to the Times.
Leading American universities are taking money from an assortment of Middle Eastern nations as well. In 2008, Jay P. Greene, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, published a list of 14 major universities that had received more than $88 million combined from “Arabian Gulf countries” in the previous 13 years. Greene points out that while these contributions are small compared to the schools’ total endowments, they’re significant boosts to the Middle Eastern and Islamic studies programs they are often intended to support.
Clarice Feldman, writing for PJ Media, dug into Department of Education reports and found, for instance, that “Georgetown University received a gift of $6,000,000 from Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia ‘to support a chair in the Center for Muslim and Christian Understanding.’ He is one of the richest men in the world and previously made $20 million gifts to Harvard and Georgetown for Islamic studies.”
Certainly not all of the gifts to think tanks and universities are inappropriate or dangerous. But the degree to which foreign donors–many ideologically opposed to Western values and civilization–are funding our leading academic and intellectual institutions merits much greater scrutiny and recognition than it has received.
Many of these same countries have ended up enriching prominent political figures as well. Former Vice President Al Gore earned an estimated $100 million when he sold his left-wing television network to Al Jazeera. That network is owned by the ruling family of Qatar. Still other former officials work for lobbying offices in Washington on behalf of foreign governments.
The threat of foreign governments’ growing sophistication at influence-buying is very real and is as old as the history of war itself. As Sun Tzu wrote 2,500 years ago, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” This ancient Chinese classic emphasizes the importance of undermining opponents by subversion.
The traditions of Islamist expansion offer a similar pattern. As Andrew McCarthy points out in his book The Grand Jihad, cultural and political jihad can be as effective as violent jihad because they are harder to oppose and even to detect.
While Americans have been focused on ISIS and other foreign centers of horrifying violence, people who would, if they had the chance, replace Western civilization with submission to Islam have been working on many other fronts. It is evident that one of those fronts has been funding sympathy at our elite institutions.
Congress has an obligation to thoroughly explore the efforts of our opponents to penetrate, undermine and weaken American society and government.
Congress then will have an obligation to propose laws which at a minimum require total transparency about the flow of foreign money. (The New York Times investigation suggested that some agreements between the American institutions and foreign governments may already be violating existing laws.) More aggressive laws may be necessary with regard to elected officials and government officials.
Our national security is at stake.
Congress Must Investigate Islamist Influence-Buying
- on February 25, 2015