After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many suggested the need for further disclosure of contributions, gifts and contracts made to America’s colleges and universities from foreign governments, corporations, foundations and individuals. Often, these donations are made by foreigners who want to influence the college’s or university’s policies and curricula.
Sunshine is the best disinfectant, especially for taxpayer-funded public entities. Foreign gifts disclosure laws allow for the sun to shine on significant foreign contributions made to our public colleges and universities by requiring public disclosure of gifts from foreign governments, entities and individuals to state colleges and universities.
Contributions made to universities by foreign governments, entities, and persons have come under heightened scrutiny, especially some made from Islamist foundations whose active denial of the Holocaust and outspoken anti-Semitic views have caused great criticism. Some contributions have funded university-sponsored Islamic centers, whose denunciation of US foreign policies, support for the application of Shariah Law in the US and lack of condemnation against calls for “jihad” against Americans are worrisome.
Universities that receive federal funding must already report foreign gifts to the Department of Education, however, federal enforcement has been poor to non-existent.
The purpose of these laws is to promote transparency in government on the state level and ensure disclosure of all financial arrangements and relationships to the taxpayers and elected officials.
These laws simply require public disclosure of these foreign gifts. They in no way discourage legitimate donations from foreign governments, entities or individuals; they merely mandate that the donations to state colleges and universities be made transparent and disclosed to the public. Public disclosure is the check and balance that will ensure that our taxpayer-supported public colleges and universities will not accept gifts or contributions that are not publicly defendable. Any gift not given by a foreign entity due to public disclosure is a gift that should not be accepted.
Below are examples of these laws on the state level:
New York Education – Part 1 – § 207-A Disclosure of Gifts Made to Institutions of Higher Education by Foreign Governments, Persons and Entities
Disclosure of Donations to Higher Education Institutions
Disclosure of Gifts Made to Institutions of Higher Education by Foreign Governments, Persons, and Entities