FOREIGN INFLUENCE TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE

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

Japan's Influence in America

by Cassandra Stimpson and Ben Freeman

November 19, 2020

FITI analyzed every Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Supplemental Statement filed in 2019 by firms working on behalf of clients in Japan. This report presents the findings of this analysis.

Report: U.S. Government and Defense Contractor Funding of America’s Top 50 Think Tanks

by Ben Freeman

Oct-14-2020

In an effort to move towards greater transparency of think tank funding in America, this report analyzes U.S. government and defense contractor funding at the top fifty think tanks in America, as ranked by the University of Pennsylvania’s Global Go To Think Tank Index, based on criteria like the quality and reputation of the think tank’s research and the reach of its publications. The analysis includes all U.S. government and defense contractor funding received by these think tanks from 2014-2019. This analysis builds upon a previous report released by FITI in early 2020, “Foreign Funding of Think Tanks in America,” and points towards a simple policy recommendation: think tanks should be required, by law, to publicly disclose their funders.

Latest News

Biden Pick Oversaw Flood of Foreign Money Into Liberal Think Tank

Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative report mentioned

Dec-1-2020

Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

Over the years, [the Center for American Progress] has assembled a list of heavy-hitting donors not just in the United States, but abroad as well. Among foreign donors CAP has taken money from is the United Arab Emirates – a country known for its poor human rights record.

Between 2014 and 2018, CAP received between $1.5 million and $3 million from the UAE, according to a report from Center for International Policy, a foreign policy research thank tank. But early last year, the group said it was no longer accepting UAE’s money.

A Washington Echo Chamber for a New Cold War

by Cassandra Stimpson and Holly Zhang

Nov-19-2020

Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

To walk that tightrope (along with the defense contractors that will benefit financially from the further militarization of the region), Japan spends heavily to influence thinking in Washington. Recent reports from the Center for International Policy’s Foreign Influence Initiative (FITI), where the authors of this piece work, reveal just how countries like Japan and giant arms firms like Lockheed Martin and Boeing functionally purchase an inside track on a think-tank market that’s hard at work creating future foreign-policy options for this country’s elite.

Congress Moves to Block UAE Weapons

"Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative" mentioned

Nov-19-2020

Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

The Center for International Policy’s Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative is out with a new report today unwinding Japan's “massive influence operation in the U.S.” and Tokyo’s heavy emphasis on securing advanced American weapons. The report tracks 51 different firms registered as foreign agents that were paid $32 million in 2019 by the Japanese government.

Meet The Experts

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Ben Freeman

Director

ABOUT THE FOREIGN INFLUENCE TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE

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.

The Initiative believes that promoting transparency is the best tool for highlighting the impact – potentially for both good and ill – of foreign influence on American democracy. To this end, it works to devise policy solutions to increase the incentives for agents to properly register and report the work they are doing on behalf of foreign powers and to make the details of such contracts and work publicly available.

FITI also seeks to highlight how advocacy campaigns implemented on behalf of foreign powers have successfully influenced U.S. foreign policy, particularly lobbying that promotes a more militarized U.S. foreign policy. Finally, the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative is dedicated to increasing public education about the role foreign powers play within American democracy. Efforts to accomplish this goal include collaborating with journalists to highlight corruption in the foreign influence industry and working with policymakers to devise solutions that minimize the ill effects of undue foreign influence.

Center for International Policy

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The Baraza, a CIP blog, is a never-ending and global town hall meeting on U.S. foreign policy.
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