Multiple House Republican ranking members have signed onto a letter addressed to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to ask for their "preliminary findings or reports" from their investigations into American higher education institutions taking foreign money, specifically from China.
The letter, which was obtained by Townhall, is part of Congressional Republican’s investigation into the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda and cover-up efforts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Signers include Reps. Jim Jordan (OH), Devin Nunes (CA), Virginia Foxx (NC), Mike Rogers (AL), and Marc Thornberry (TX).
Citing consistent Chinese efforts to steal "confidential information and technology from U.S. companies, and even the U.S. government" through their investments in American colleges, the members wrote how "China is restricting any research regarding the origins of COVID-19 that does not comport with CCP propaganda. They added their concern about the Chinese government using "strategic investments to turn American college campuses into indoctrination platforms for American students" through their "110 'Confucius Institutes' on college campuses as well as over 500 'Confucius Classrooms.'"
"These actions all bring into question whether U.S. IHEs receiving federal taxpayer dollars should be allowed to accept funds from China, the CCP, or other affiliated organizations. The interests of the two nations appear to have diverged," they wrote.
The Department of Education has open multiple investigations into colleges who may have improperly reported or failed to report altogether foreign gifts of $250,000 or more, in violation of Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965:
"We appreciate that many leaders of IHEs are starting to acknowledge the threat of foreign academic espionage and have been working with the Administration and federal law enforcement to address gaps in reporting and transparency. However, there are continued concerns about gaps in reporting by IHEs, individual faculty members, and researchers that could potentially endanger national security. Some foreign countries strategically invest in IHEs and researchers that also receive Defense Department grants in an attempt to steal sensitive U.S. military secrets and technology."
Republicans are asking for the following from the Education Department by May 11:
- All information, documents, and communication(s) between the Department and all schools currently under a Section 117 investigation regarding acceptance or reporting of foreign gifts including, but not limited to, gifts to affiliated foundations, all ancillary or foreign campuses, and individual departments or professors between January 1, 2018 and present.
- Any preliminary findings or reports that cover all open and closed investigations of the Department regarding false or misleading reporting of foreign gifts, including all source documents and information relied upon to determine findings or other report content.
- Staff-level briefings to help them understand the depth and breadth of foreign influence and investment in U.S. higher education, as well as the Department’s efforts to address these problems, no later than May 11.
"We cannot allow a dangerous communist regime to buy access to our institutions of higher education, plain and simple. The Chinese Communist Party’s coverup of the early outbreak of the coronavirus immeasurably worsened this disease’s impact on the United States and the world. We owe it to the American people to hold China accountable and to prevent them from doing further harm to our country," Rep. Jordan, ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.
"China’s strategic investment in our institutions of higher learning has long been a concern. This is especially true where China appears to be targeting institutions doing research with the Department of Defense in an effort to obtain sensitive information," Rep. Thornberry, ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, said.
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