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September 18, 2014

House Mulls Foreign-Funds-Disclosure Order for Think Tanks

Nonprofit policy institutes would be required to disclose any financial support from governments abroad when their scholars testify before the House of Representatives under a proposed rule change that has won bipartisan support, The New York Times writes. The amendment was drafted by Rep. Jackie Speier, Democrat of California, in response to a Times report earlier this month that more than two dozen prominent think tanks have collectively received at least $92-million from foreign government organs or officials.

"The American people have a reasonable expectation that these links will be transparent and allow for no appearance of a conflict of interest," Ms. Speier told a House Rules subcommittee at a hearing Wednesday. The proposal was endorsed by Reps. Rich Nugent of Florida and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, respectively the subcommittee's Republican chairman and ranking Democrat. If adopted, the disclosure requirement would take effect when the next Congress is seated in January.