Washington Insights & Highlights
February 21, 2020
Legislators Reintroduce Bill Related to Institutions’ Foreign Gifts

Republican Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Tom Cotton (R-AR) reintroduced the Foreign Influence Transparency Act, which was legislation in the previous Congress that would require universities to disclose foreign gifts or contracts over $50,000. The current requirement for disclosure is $250,000. The bill also requires organizations operating in the United States that are run by international governments to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The legislation follows a bipartisan 2019 report released by Senator Portman, Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and Senator Tom Carper (D-MD), Ranking Member, which detailed the lack of transparency in how American institutions manage internationally managed organizations, such as the Confucius Institutes. Additionally, the Department of Education released a notice for an Information Collection Request that would remove the request that institutions submit “true copies” of contracts and gift agreements, as originally included in the proposed rule on Sec. 117. This provision has been a source of concern for institutions. CGS joined comments in November on the Department of Education’s Information Collection Request regarding foreign gift and contract disclosure and will continue to monitor legislative developments made in Congress.

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