The Massachusetts Institute of Technology worked to kill a proposal that would bring additional scrutiny to large foreign donations.
It found an ally in the White House, too, according to Just the News.
The revelation of MIT’s lobbying several years ago came via recently obtained public records.
Just the News reported:
Federal watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust obtained communications between MIT’s David Goldston, a Capitol Hill veteran who served as House Science Committee chief of staff 20 years ago, and Office of Science and Technology Policy leaders from 2021 through a Freedom of Information Act request, and shared them with Just the News.
The emails show them strategizing over several months to remove a provision from the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act that would task the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), an interagency group led by the Treasury Department, with reviewing foreign gifts to and contracts with universities of $1 million and up for national security threats.
The cooperation illustrates the Biden administration’s efforts to remove roadblocks to foreign funding for higher education. It ended the Trump administration’s much-loathed investigations of undisclosed foreign funding under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act, 19 of which remained open as of President Trump’s last day in office. The page is currently empty.
“Universities have received $43 billion in foreign gifts and grants since 1990, according to a review by transparency group Open the Books last summer,” Just the News reported.
University lobbying groups were working to kill the proposal as well.
Goldston, the MIT lobbyist, asked the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy to get the administration to criticize the proposal so as to rally Democrats against it.
“With Administration involvement, at least behind the scenes, it’s conceivable the provision could get knocked out,” Goldston wrote to acting director Kei Koizumi.
“We are on it. Thanks. Can say more by phone,” Koizumi wrote back.
Goldston also gave talking points Jason Matheny, then at the science and technology office.
He’s now the CEO of the RAND Corporation.
IMAGE: David Lienemann/White House