While investigations into Russian influence in the 2016 election regularly garner front-page headlines, there is a half-billion-dollar foreign influence industry working to shape U.S. foreign policy every single day that remains largely unknown to the public. The Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative is working to change that anonymity through transparency promotion, investigative research, and public education.

Recent Publications

Report: The Qatar Lobby in Washington

by Ben Freeman


In June 2017, member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) severed diplomatic ties and blockaded Qatar, citing the country's ties to terrorist organizations. This damaged Qatari-U.S. relations, but only ten months after the blockade began, Trump met with the Emir of Qatar in the Oval Office.
This report investigates the Qatar Lobby and the work that it did in those ten months between 2017-2018 to mend its relationship with the U.S.

Report: Foreign Funding of Think Tanks in America

by Ben Freeman


Think tanks vary considerably in terms of their objectives and organization, but many think tanks in Washington D.C. share a common trait—they receive substantial financial support from foreign governments. While these are often democracies with interests closely aligned with those of the U.S., a significant number of these foreign donors are undemocratic, authoritarian regimes whose aims often diverge significantly from U.S. interests. In a variety of instances, the public has learned that this foreign funding can significantly influence think tanks’ work. It can lead to a think tank producing reports favorable to a foreign power, think tank experts offering Congressional testimony in support of a foreign powers’ interests, or its scholars working closely with a foreign funders’ registered lobbyists.

Latest News

Coronavirus? What coronavirus?: Congress is setting national security priorities as if it's been living in a cave.

by William Hartung and Ben Freeman


Arms and Security and Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

Despite the extraordinary and dire threat of the coronavirus, many Members of Congress are effectively ignoring it as they deliberate the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – the annual bill that decides the details of the Pentagon budget. They are now poised to authorize a near-record level of Pentagon spending that will do little to combat the threat of the coronavirus or future pandemics. In these unusual times, it is business as usual for Pentagon pork.

Taiwan Funding of Think Tanks: Omnipresent and Rarely Disclosed

Ben Freeman quoted


Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

“Taiwan is an interesting case because we know Taiwan gives a good amount of money to think tanks, and we know they have a good amount of influence around town,” said Ben Freeman, director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy.

More than 50 scientists fired or resign after NIH probe into grants' foreign support

Ben Freeman quoted


Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

The Center for International Policy’s Ben Freeman, who studies foreign government influence in the U.S., said while the bad actors appear to represent less than 0.1% of the total grantees, a single scientist giving cutting-edge research to China could harm U.S. national security.

Meet The Experts


Ben Freeman



Center for International Policy

2000 M Street NW, Suite 720, Washington, DC 20036

(202) 232-3317

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