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

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The Saudi Lobby in 2020

by Ben Freeman

At every turn, however, the Saudi monarchy has been able to rely on an expansive and entrenched collection of lobbying and public relations firms in the U.S. that have worked to minimize the damage from these transgressions. Despite the best efforts of the Saudi lob- by, it has become increasingly clear that Saudi Arabia has lost the battle for the Beltway and seen its influence in Washington dramatically decline. In response, the Kingdom has done what any monarchy with millions to spend on influence in America might do: shift its influence operations to the states.

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Restoring Trust in the Think Tank Sector

by Ben Freeman

Given public distrust of the U.S. policymaking process, think tanks have a valuable opportunity to take tangible and necessary steps to help reinstill public confidence in the government’s ability to address our nation’s economic, health, environmental, and foreign policy challenges.

Latest News

Tom Barrack's arrest spotlights UAE's role in shaping Trump's foreign policy

Ben Freeman quoted

Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

Our Ben Freeman, Director of FITI, was quoted extensively in this article about UAE's role in shaping Trump's foreign policy. "It pains me to admit it a little bit, but the UAE was fantastically successful in moving Trump to their side. It's hard to find an issue during the Trump administration that the UAE was pushing for that they weren't at least partially successful in accomplishing."

Paying to play in Washington: winners, losers and suckers

Ben Freeman interviewed

Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

Our Ben Freeman sits down with the Crashing the War podcast to discuss "how Washington think tanks — particularly foreign policy and national security institutions — are taking hundreds of millions of dollars from the government, foreign countries, and the defense industry."

Saudi princess in Iowa: Lobbying pivots after Khashoggi’s slaying

Ben Freeman quoted

Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

Our Ben Freeman talks about "reputation laundering" in relation to Saudi Arabia's lobbying efforts in this article from Bloomberg.

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.