Published: November 2, 2020  Updated: November 2, 2020 at 9:23 am EST

Previously, we reported that hundreds of Prestigious American Institutions received billions of dollars in gifts and foreign contracts. Further, it has been reported that American universities have received hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian Post-Soviet Oligarchs.

Those same oligarchs made headlines for their involvement in U.S. politics; however, now, according to the newly created Anti-Corruption Data Collective, at least seven of these post-Soviet oligarchs connected to interference efforts have donated between $372 million and $435 million to more than 200 of the most prestigious non-profit institutions in the U.S. over the past two decades. 

The list of recipients is vast and ranges from prestigious think tanks like the Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations, to world-renowned universities such as Harvard and the University of Southern California, to cultural icons such as the New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Even though some of these contributions have been reported, it would appear that much of the Oligarchs activity is within the field of philanthropy.

Think Tanks greatly influence policy in Washington. Out of more the than 1800 think tanks in the United States, nearly 400 are based in Washington. Previous administrations have relied on the research and ideas generated by such organizations to formulate policy.

Such institutions have been criticized in the past for their outsized influence on U.S. policy formulation. But there’s new research showing that, compared to previous administrations, the Trump White House is far less dependent on so called ‘think tanks.’ 

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Regardless, those same think tanks have received gifts and donations from foreign governments. The issue is now coming out in the light as a sincere problem, so much so that the State Department is now calling for these ‘Think Tanks’ to release their funding sources on their websites. The gifts appear to follow two specific threads.

On the one hand, donating to institutions such as think tanks may be about establishing a potential toehold over policy decisions in Washington. Indeed, such considerations have helped spark recent calls for greater transparency within American think tank funding, with many failing to disclose details about their substantial donations received.

This month, the State Department specifically called on think tanks to “disclose prominently on their websites funding they receive from foreign governments, including state-owned or state-operated subsidiary entities.”

The fact that Think Tanks have received so much funding from foreign governments, oligarchs, and entities with anti-American bias is a dire concern. How many of those institutions have influenced US policy for the donor’s country to receive benefits?

American institutions are in trouble because so much of their funding comes from foreign entities. While there are currently no laws to govern what they receive, it is evident that transparency is a necessity.

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