Ben Freeman

Ben Freeman

Director, Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

Dr. Ben Freeman is the Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy, where he works to expose how foreign governments are influencing U.S. public policy and elections. This work builds upon his book, The Foreign Policy Auction, which was the first book to systematically analyze the foreign influence industry in the U.S.


Before launching the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative, Dr. Freeman was the Deputy Director of the National Security program at Third Way. Prior to joining Third Way, he served as the National Security Fellow at the Project On Government Oversight from 2011 to 2013, where he spear-headed creation of the “Foreign Influence Database,” a repository of propaganda distributed by foreign agents that was previously unavailable online.


Dr. Freeman earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, completing a dissertation that investigated the ability of foreign governments to effectively lobby for economic and military assistance from the United States. Upon graduation, Dr. Freeman taught in the Political Science Department and the Bush School of Government and Public Policy at Texas A&M. His work has appeared in numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, Politico, and CNN, and he has testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

REPORT
February 3, 2022

Lobbying in the U.S. by Countries in Africa: An Overview

By Ben Freeman

This report analyzes foreign lobbying filings from countries in Africa between 2016 and 2020, spotlights the top spenders from these countries on foreign lobbying during this time period, and discusses the implications for U.S. foreign policy.

Lobbying in the U.S. by Countries in Africa: An Overview
REPORT
October 28, 2021

Turkey's Lobby in the United States

by Ben Freeman

A detailed look in the relationship between Ankara and Washington, and what has made made U.S.-Turkey relations more strained than ever before.

Turkey's Lobby in the United States
July 29, 2021

Towards Global Best Practices for Regulating Foreign Influence

by Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative

This Issue Brief aims to take the first steps to contribute to the fledgling
discourse by highlighting key policy questions that the proliferation of transparency-based responses to foreign influence campaigns raise and will raise. In particular, the focus will be on issues that they must seek to resolve in order to offer balanced but effective outcomes in the modern democratic context.

Towards Global Best Practices for Regulating Foreign Influence

LATEST NEWS

December 6, 2021

US: New legislation seeks to target foreign funding behind congressional testimony

Ben Freeman quoted

The CIP report [] found that several Middle Eastern countries were among the top foreign donors to Washington-based think tanks. The UAE and Qatar were among the top ten countries donating to these institutions, donating $15.4m and $8.5m respectively, according to the report. Morocco, meanwhile, was included in the top 20 countries with donations totaling $2.8m.

December 3, 2021

The mapping of the Turkish lobby in the USA - The deep mechanism, the backstage action, the pressure groups

CIP's "Turkey's Lobby in the United States" report cited

In the spring of 2019, the US House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee were inundated with letters of similar content. " The purchase of the S-400s was not a matter of preference, but of necessity, " he said, adding that Turkey's possible withdrawal from the F-35 5th generation aircraft program "makes no sense " and " undermines NATO's overall deterrent capability."

December 3, 2021

Erdogan Is Focused on His Image. Don't Disturb Him With Femicide

Ben Freeman cited

In October, the Washington-based Center for International Policy published a report detailing Turkey’s lobbying activities, including the companies it hired to promote Turkish policy and the amount of money it paid.

November 11, 2021

The Epic Foreign Policy Fail of the Turkey Lobby

By Ben Freeman

While we say much about successful foreign influence efforts, we almost never ever talk about foreign influence fails. That changes today. I present to you, perhaps the greatest foreign influence fail in recent memory: The Turkey lobby.