5-5-2023 (Washington, DC) – It is not just China seeking to influence US academic institutions through massive cash donations, but other countries as well. The legal watchdog group, Judicial Watch, announced this week that it received records from Texas A&M indicating that it received $485,811,921.33 in grants and contracts from the Qatar Foundation.
According to Judicial Watch, there appear to be discrepancies between what is listed in the gift reporting received from Texas A&M and what was reported by the school to the federal foreign gift reporting system. For instance, Texas A&M’s gift record for January 1, 2013 – May 22, 2018, only lists a total of $69,844.41 from the Qatar Foundation, whereas the Department of Education’s database shows a total of over $47 million for the same period.
The new information was released in a court victory last month in litigation on behalf of Judicial Watch client Zachor Legal Institute under the Texas Public Information Act. Zachor fought for information about the potential influence by the Qatar government’s funding of certain Texas A&M University programs and a Texas A&M campus in Education City, Al Rayyan, Qatar.
The previously hidden records include a document titled “Qatar Grants and Contracts” for January 1, 2013 – May 22, 2018, which lists the funds received by Texas A&M. A second record is titled “Qatar Gifts,” which includes additional funds received.
Zachor Legal Institute is a U.S.-based advocacy group. Zachor made requests under the TPIA for information about the funding or donations made to Texas A&M by the government of Qatar and agencies and subdivisions of the government of Qatar. Qatar controversially has aligned itself with Islamic terrorists and extremists which has placed it at odds with the United States, Israel and other U.S. allies in the Middle East.
Zachor began asking in 2018 for information about Qatari funding of Texas A&M research and how Texas A&M, a public university, was able to establish a degree-conferring campus in Qatar without the Texas Legislature’s permission or involvement.
In 2018, Qatar filed a lawsuit to prevent disclosure of its funding information. Judicial Watch attorneys countered in the courts that neither the Qatari government nor any of its agencies are protected by exceptions under Texas law and that federal law “expressly makes the requested information public.”
In March 2023, Judge Amy Clark Meachum ruled in favor of Judicial Watch and the Zachor Legal Institute and ordered that the documents be made public.
“Thanks to the determined and skillful work of Judicial Watch, the country now sees the extent to which foreign governments are interfering in American institutions,” said Marc Greendorfer, President of Zachor Legal Institute. “Texas A&M’s apparent sporadic and shifting compliance with federal reporting requirements concerning gifts and grants from Qatar raises many questions as to why the university seemingly failed to comply with reporting requirements and whether additional information is not being reported. Zachor will continue to pursue answers to these questions until every dollar is accounted for.”
“Now we know why terrorist-linked Qatar has fought us in court to hide its financial support for Texas A&M – which we just found out is nearly a half billion dollars,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
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