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Rubio, Cotton, Wilson Introduce the Foreign Influence Transparency Act

Mar 21, 2018 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) today introduced the Foreign Influence Transparency Act, which would require organizations, such as the Chinese government-run programs known as Confucius Institutes, to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).  The legislation also amends the Higher Education Act to require universities to disclose donations, contracts, or the fair market value of in-kind gifts, from any foreign source if the amount is $50,000 or greater. 
“This legislation aims to bring greater transparency to the activities of foreign governments operating in the United States,” said Rubio. “It will strengthen foreign funding disclosure requirements for colleges and universities and close loopholes in current law so that entities like Confucius Institutes, operating in more than 100 American higher education institutions including several in Florida, would be required to register with the Department of Justice as foreign agents of the Chinese government.”
“If we want there to be free speech and honest debate on our college campuses, then we need more transparency around other countries’ efforts to push their interests on U.S. soil,” said Cotton. “Requiring organizations like Confucius Institutes to register their activities with the Justice Department and disclose where they get their money is necessary to alert college students to the malign influence of foreign propaganda.”
“The goal of this legislation is to increase transparency between foreign governments, universities, and communities,” said Wilson. “The American people have the right to know if they are consuming propaganda that is being produced by a foreign government.”
Last week, Rubio requested that the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) include language in the upcoming Higher Education Reauthorization Act to address Chinese government-run programs known as Confucius Institutes. Specifically, he urged the committee to make it harder for the Chinese government to evade reporting requirements for any money it gives to U.S. colleges and universities.
In February, Rubio urged Florida schools to terminate their agreements with Confucius Institutes after warning about China’s growing foreign influence operations in the United States.