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Gulf donors drawn into controversy over foreign influence at US campuses

Six US universities are under investigation for allegedly failing to report $1.3 billion in gifts and contracts from Middle Eastern and other foreign sources.
BOSTON, USA - MARCH 25: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY  MANDATORY CREDIT - "BANDAR ALGALOUD / SAUDI KINGDOM COUNCIL / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (C) visits Innovation and Technology fair at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on March 25, 2018. (Photo by Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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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