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‘Must Act Now’: Conservative Lawmakers Call for Transparency on Foreign Funding in Higher Ed

The [Chinese Communist Party] has pumped billions of dollars into America’s colleges and universities,’ Dr. Virginia Foxx told Campus Reform

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce (Committee) sent a letter to Department of Education (DOEd) Secretary Miguel Cardona yesterday inquiring on the compliance of higher education institutions reporting about foreign donations.

Section 117 of the Higher Education Act requires colleges and universities to report to the DOEd foreign gifts and contracts exceeding $250,000 per year, with the objective being to balance “academic freedom and national security by mandating financial transparency.”

The press release regarding the recent letter clarifies that, while the Trump administration found nearly $6.5 billion in unreported foreign college and university funds, “it appears the Biden administration has done very little, if anything, to pursue enforcement of Section 117 or to open new investigations.”

[RELATED: Rep. Foxx re-ignites Trump-era investigations into foreign influence in higher education]

The letter written by Committee Chairwoman Dr. Virginia Foxx and signed by 21 other representatives specifically asks Cardona for records relating to the enforcement of Section 117, including the number of DOEd personnel and the budget for foreign donation investigations.

The letter also requests “a detailed status report” on the open Section 117 investigations on 15 private and public universities across the country, including Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, and MIT.

Of particular concern for Foxx is the financial influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in American higher education.

“The CCP has pumped billions of dollars into America’s colleges and universities—with little to no oversight,” Foxx told Campus Reform, “yet the Biden administration continues to sit on its hands while the CCP’s influence permeates deeper into American postsecondary education and society.”

Other members of Congress are also concerned about the extent of the CCP’s influence in America.

Last month, Representative Lance Gordon introduced a bill to re-launch the China Initiative, a project of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that investigated CCP espionage in US private sector and higher education research activities. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott have also proposed efforts to revive the project after it was shut down by the Biden administration in early 2021.

CCP espionage concerns have also been the primary impetus for the federal government and most US states to ban the use of TikTok on government devices and networks, impacting numerous state college systems across the country.

In January, Campus Reform covered the dubious connections between the University of Pennsylvania and the CCP when classified documents were found at the Penn Biden Center in Washington DC.

[RELATED: WATCH: UPenn students concerned about foreign influence on campus]

At that time, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “the Chinese Communist Party’s inside every major American university today with research dollars and with their students.”

“If you’re afraid to enforce the rules,” Pompeo added, “if you continue to allow them to walk on the American economy, if you keep giving an inch in every space, they’ll be inside the gates here in the United States. And frankly, that’s what we face today.”

Dr. Foxx sees this week’s letter to Secretary Cardona as a vital step moving forward.

“Transparency and enforcing the law are essential to curbing the CCP’s growing influence,” she said. “Our large research institutions, and other colleges and universities, as well as intellectual property and national security, are at stake. The Biden administration must act now.”

A spokesperson from the DOEd confirmed that the Committee’s letter was received and will be reviewed accordingly.

Follow Gabrielle M. Etzel on Twitter.

Originally published by Campus Reform. Republished with permission

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Gabrielle M. Etzel
Gabrielle M. Etzel
Gabrielle M. Etzel serves as a Reporter for Campus Reform. In 2019, Gabrielle earned her bachelor of arts in political science with a minor in economics from Grove City College and in 2022, earned her masters of public policy and administration from Baylor University. Her opinion editorials have been published in a variety of national news outlets, and she has appeared on several radio programs. In her free time, Gabrielle enjoys being with her family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


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