The U.S. State Department is asking think tanks that wish to engage with it to prominently list all funding they receive from foreign governments and state-owned enterprises, citing concerns about covert influence by China and Russia.
Some of the most influential think tanks in the United States have significant ties to China. The Brookings Institution, for example, established a center in Beijing in 2006. A number of think tanks operate from elite universities that have reported accepting millions of dollars in gifts and contracts from China.
The State Department noted that the request isn't binding, but asked department officials to consider whether the think tanks they are considering engaging have disclosed foreign funding. The department specifically noted concerns about efforts by China and Russia to “seek to exert influence over U.S. foreign policy through lobbyists, external experts, and think tanks.”
Gooden accused the Sea Change Foundation, the Sierra Club, and the Sunrise Movement of receiving foreign funds but didn't offer evidence in the letter or in response to a request from The Epoch Times.
“Based on information recently brought to my attention, I believe there is considerable evidence of foreign interference in our government, perpetrated through environmental groups like these taking shelter behind the non-profit status of donor anonymity,” Gooden wrote.