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

The South Korea Lobby

by Ben Freeman

The government of South Korea has a vested interest in attempting to sway U.S. foreign policy in its favor, and spends tens-of-millions every year on Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) registered lobbying and public relations firms. The FARA filings examined in this report reveal what these firms are doing for a South Korea that seeks to strengthen all of its economic, cultural, political, and military ties with the U.S.

The South Korea Lobby
REPORT

Japan's Influence in America

by Cassandra Stimpson and Ben Freeman

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.

Japan's Influence in America
REPORT

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

by Ben Freeman

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.

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

LATEST NEWS

American primacy on the menu for big industry donors at CNAS

Ben Freeman's report cited

A review late last year by the Center for International Policy of 50 major U.S. think tanks found that CNAS was the single largest recipient of defense contractor money from 2014 to 2019. In our report, we were able to identify 29 different defense companies that have contributed to the think tank, with Northrop Grumman (the 5th largest U.S. defense contractor in 2019) as their biggest financial backer by far.

The Military-Industrial-Think Tank Complex

Ben Freeman's report quoted

A recent Center for International Policy (CIP) review of defense industry and US government support for 50 major American think tanks found that, from 2014 to 2019, “CNAS ... received more funding from defense contractors than any other think tank analyzed here.”

Turkey lobbies to get back in F-35 program; report lays bare $31 million in South Korean lobbying; faith groups lobby Biden to rescind Cuba terror designation: Thursday’s Daily Digest

Ben Freeman quoted

The Center for International Policy‘s Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative has a new report out today on the massive amounts of money US ally South Korea spends on lobbying and public relations firms to influence US policymakers and public opinion.

Biden and the Democratic Congress: A perfect storm for foreign lobbying reform?

by Ben Freeman

With a new government following the familiar playbook of promising to clean up Washington, foreign lobbying reform is once again all the rage. Democratic control of both the House and Senate increases the likelihood of passing FARA legislation. President Biden, unlike his predecessor, has indicated an interest in the issue. Perhaps most importantly, Trump is not only gone from the White House but is also being impeached over his role in fueling the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. With Trump gone, Republicans now have greater political freedom to act.

EXPERTS

Ben Freeman

Director, Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative
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.

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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