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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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.

EXPERTS

  • Gordon Adams, Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center and professor in the U.S. Foreign Policy program at the School of International Service, American University

  • Amy Belasco, former Specialist for the Defense Budget of the Congressional Research Service

  • Neta Crawford, Professor and Department Chair of Political Science at Boston University

  • Matt Fay, former Director of Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Niskanen Center

  • Ben Friedman, Senior Fellow and Defense Scholar at Defense Priorities

  • Laicie Heeley, CEO of Inkstick, Host of Things That Go Boom

  • John King, Founder, King and Brown Company LLC

  • Larry Korb, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and adjunct professor at Georgetown University

  • Lindsay Koshgarian, Program Director, National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

  • Miriam Pemberton, Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies

  • Mandy Smithberger, Director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight

  • Col. Larry Wilkerson (Ret.), Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy, William & Mary

  • Col. Isaiah "Ike" Wilson (Ret.), director, Strategic Studies Institute, Army War College​

  • CIP Senior Associate Carl Conetta was a consultant to the project

ABOUT

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.