[Ed. note: the following stub includes two introductory paragraphs, followed by the two concluding paragraphs that mention the Middle East Forum and quote from comments submitted to the Department of Education by Campus Watch and the Washington Project, both projects of the Forum. To read the entire article, please click here.]
Multimillion-dollar donations to US universities by Arab Gulf monarchies and other wealthy Middle East donors are coming under scrutiny as Congress and the Donald Trump administration crack down on Chinese and other foreign influence operations across the country.
Since mid-June, the Department of Education has announced six investigations into some of the nation's most prestigious institutions of higher learning for allegedly failing to properly disclose more than $1.3 billion in foreign funding over the past seven years. All six receive or have received funding from Middle Eastern sources, among them the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia as well as the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi.
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Not everyone is convinced. One of the few groups to applaud the proposed changes as a "marked improvement over the status quo" is the right-wing Middle East Forum, which regularly warns about perceived Gulf influence in the United States.
"Publicly available Department of Education data indicate that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are, respectively, the number one and number three largest foreign funders of American Universities," the group wrote. "While we may occasionally share some goals with these states, America's values and interests clearly differ from theirs in significant ways."