Florida representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is asking the Department of Education to investigate the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement for allegedly accepting millions in undisclosed foreign donations.
The National Legal and Policy Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit group that monitors ethics in "public life," announced its complaint against the Penn Biden Center with the Department of Education on May 21. The NLPC is demanding an investigation into the disclosure of the source of more than $70 million in donations from China, of which $22 million were listed as "Anonymous" according to the organization’s online announcement.
Vice President of University Communications Stephen MacCarthy previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian that the allegations against the Center were "completely untrue."
In his June 2 letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Gaetz cited the complaint from the NPLC and wrote that he feared foreign countries could influence United States politics through donations, The Hill reported.
“The possibility that China may be using ‘anonymous donations’ in order to impact presidential politics should alarm all Americans, regardless of political affiliation. I sincerely hope this is not the case,” he wrote in the letter.
The Higher Education Act mandates that institutions disclose all foreign donations and gifts valued at $250,000 made within a one-year period.
“It is unclear whether the Department of Education has the name of the donor matching the number, but whether it does or not, the law requires the disclosure of donors’ names,” Gaetz told The Hill.
In February, the Department of Education opened investigations into Harvard University and Yale University for failing to report billions of dollars of foreign donations. Harvard was accused of failing to comply with reporting procedures, and Yale had failed to disclose $375 million in foreign donations, NPR reported.
Harvard University's Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Charles Lieber was then arrested for lying to the U.S. Department of Defense regarding his involvement in a Chinese government program that aimed to recruit foreign scientists and researchers.
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