House Republicans Push for Transparency in University Donations
House Republicans are taking a stand against American universities hiding donations from China and other malign regimes. A new law proposed by Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) would require institutions to disclose every dime they receive from the Chinese Communist Party. This legislation, known as the Safeguarding American Education From Foreign Control Act, aims to significantly alter federal disclosure laws and force schools to provide the Education Department with information about all money donated by foreign adversaries, specifically China and Russia.
Under current law, schools are only required to report gifts of $250,000 or more. However, the Biden administration has been hesitant to enforce this rule, raising concerns in Congress about China’s influence at prestigious American institutions. Banks’s bill seeks to address these concerns by imposing stricter reporting requirements on universities that have received millions of dollars in Chinese funding while disclosing little information about these donations and research partnerships.
As Secretary of State Antony Blinken wraps up his trip to China aimed at cooling tensions between the countries, Republicans are ramping up their efforts to crack down on CCP influence operations in America. The proposed legislation is part of a larger push by House Republicans to expose how China infiltrates American schools by showering them with cash. Since 2011, China has provided over $426 million to U.S. schools, raising concerns about intellectual property theft and espionage.
Cracking Down on China’s Influence
The Safeguarding American Education From Foreign Control Act would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to ensure that every donation made by China or other adversarial nations is reported to the federal government. In addition to China, the bill extends these reporting requirements to Russia, North Korea, and Iran.
Furthermore, the legislation would require the Education Department to share information about these donations with the director of National Intelligence and the FBI. This collaboration aims to facilitate investigations into Chinese influence peddling and monitor the CCP’s spending in American academia.
Rep. Banks emphasized the urgency of the bill, stating, “Joe Biden and far-left officials like [Education Department] secretary [Miguel] Cardona are doing less than the bare legal minimum to track illicit Chinese influence at our universities. My bill removes any ambiguity from the law and tells federal law enforcement when the Biden administration ignores it. Thanks to this administration, the Chinese Communist Party has an even tighter hold on U.S. higher education.”
Supporters of the legislation, including Reps. Jodey Arrington (R., Texas), Troy Nehls (R., Texas), Brandon Williams (R., N.Y.), Glenn Grothman (R., Wis.), and John Moolenaar (R., Mich.), are pushing to include it in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.
Concerns Over China’s Influence in American Academia
China’s foothold in the American academic system has long been a source of concern for federal authorities. The Select Committee on China, of which Rep. Banks is a member, has been investigating partnerships between American schools and Beijing. Stanford University, for example, has received $27 million from China since 2021, raising concerns about the university’s involvement in sensitive U.S. military research.
The House China committee is also investigating China’s establishment of Confucius Institutes on American college campuses, which are known to serve as a spy base for China’s efforts to steal proprietary American research. While Congress has banned U.S. schools from receiving federal funds while hosting Confucius Institutes, the Biden administration has offered waivers to schools looking to bypass this prohibition.
With the Safeguarding American Education From Foreign Control Act, House Republicans aim to bring transparency to university donations and address the growing concerns about China’s influence in American academia.
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