Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks and Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Rep. Virginia Foxx sent a Wednesday letter to Department of Education (DOE) Secretary Miguel Cardona asking him to show progress fighting Chinese influence on U.S. university campuses.
The Daily Caller first obtained the letter, in which the two lawmakers tell Cardona that more oversight is necessary for the Higher Education Act, which mandates that institutions of higher education disclose large gifts and contracts.
The letter claimed that under former President Donald Trump, the DOE “modernized” the reporting process and found $6.5 billion in unreported gifts, some of which came from the Chinese Communist Party.
“For decades, colleges and universities failed to comply with statutory transparency requirements. The previous administration modernized the reporting process and found over $6.5 billion in unreported gifts and contracts and opened 19 university investigations,” Banks and Foxx wrote in the letter.
“However, the Department has closed only four of those investigations to date. Moreover, you have not started or provided status updates on any other investigations into foreign gifts or contracts. We are concerned by these facts, considering it was conveyed to Congress that career civil servants at the Department and other agencies were supportive of Section 117 compliance and oversight,”
Here Are The Questions Asked In The Letter:
- How many full-time equivalent staff do you have analyzing section 117 of the HEA’s foreign gift and contract disclosure requirements? Has this number changed in the last six months?
- Did the January 31, 2021, reporting period find any previously unreported gifts or contracts and, if so, what was the total amount?
- What was the total amount of reported foreign gifts and contracts and how many new filers were a part of the January 31, 2021, reporting period?
- Have you opened any university investigations or subpoenaed any documents related to section 117 compliance?
- How do you intend to complete the 15 open university investigations? Please provide written observations from the investigation review as was done in the October 2020, Institutional Compliance with Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, “OGC report.”
- What range of corrective measures do you have to force noncompliant institutions to disclose foreign gifts and contracts?
- What interagency memberships are you working through and what agreements do you have in place to respond to potential adversarial nation security threats? (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Republicans Demand Department Of Education Withdraw Rule Forcing Critical Race Theory In Schools)
READ THE LETTER HERE FIRST:
“The Department must enforce the law and coordinate with other federal agencies to defend citizens from security threats. As Congress debates legislation to counter the threats posed by China and other adversarial nations, your commitment to carrying out the law is critical. The lack of progress we have seen on this issue since your confirmation as Secretary is alarming, and we are concerned the Department is not treating threats from China and other adversarial nations seriously,” they added in the letter. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Steel Calls On Biden To Share Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Doses With Taiwan As China Attempts To Block Access)
The two lawmakers told Cardona and the DOE they have two weeks to respond to their inquiries.