Following Portman, Carper PSI Investigation into China’s Influence in U.S. Education System, Department of Education Increases Enforcement of Foreign Gift Reporting

February 12, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC -  Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), released a joint statement on the Wall Street Journal report that increased enforcement efforts by the U.S. Department of Education following the PSI report and hearing regarding foreign gifts have resulted in the reporting of approximately $6.5 billion in previously undisclosed foreign money since July 2019.  Last year, Portman and Carper released a bipartisan PSI report detailing the lack of transparency in how American colleges and universities manage Confucius Institutes—which are located at more than 100 American colleges and universities and have received more than $150 million in support from the Chinese government. The report found that U.S. schools failed to comply with statutory requirements to report foreign gifts to the Department of Education. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. schools with a Confucius Institute that received more than $250,000 in one year for a Confucius Institute failed to properly report that information to the Department of Education. 

“Our bipartisan PSI report last year revealed the lack of transparency in the U.S. education system and how nearly 70 percent of U.S. schools were failing to comply with statutory requirements to report foreign gifts. We are pleased that our findings have helped spur the Department of Education to better enforce these requirements and ensure that U.S. colleges and universities report foreign funding as required by federal law. The fact that $6.5 billion in foreign gifts to U.S. institutions went unreported until now is shocking and unacceptable. We would urge the Department to also work with institutions to improve the reporting process to increase transparency and ensure that U.S. schools are in compliance going forward.  

“As our report showed, China has been routinely exploiting this lack of transparency by controlling, funding, and staffing Confucius Institutes at hundreds of campuses across our country. Chinese teachers at U.S. Confucius Institutes pledge to the Chinese government that they will follow Chinese law and ‘conscientiously safeguard China’s national interests.’ We cannot allow such access to continue without transparency. We are pleased that the Department of Education is increasing enforcement efforts and taking a step towards ensuring academic freedom in America.”