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October 02, 2015

Brookings Scholar Resigns in Flap Over Corporate Funding

An economist long affiliated with the Brookings Institution has resigned from the Democrat-leaning think tank after being assailed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren for research she contends was influenced by a corporate sponsor, writes The Washington Post.

The Massachusetts Democrat, a leading critic of corporate influence in Washington, sent a letter to the Washington-based policy institute Tuesday targeting a critical assessment by Robert Litan of a proposed regulation on the financial-services industry that she backs. Mr. Litan and a co-author received $85,000 from investment firm the Capital Group to conduct the study, which was not done under the Brookings imprimatur.

Mr. Litan, an unpaid "nonresident scholar" at Brookings, stepped down at the institute's request. "I learned there was discomfort with the Warren letter, and I did not want to add to it," he said. Mr. Litan said the payment had no influence on his findings but acknowledged he had violated a Brookings rule barring nonresident scholars from citing their ties to the institute in congressional testimony.

The rule was implemented after media reports last year raised questions about the influence of money from corporations and foreign interests on policy research at Brookings and other prominent think thanks.