Raised fist in solidarity

(Photo: Pabak Sarkar/Flickr)

A recent New York Times piece, “Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks,” cast a critical eye on the funding a number of U.S. think tanks have received from foreign governments and called into question the ability of such organizations to remain independent in the face of foreign interests.

In a Letter to the Editor, IPS Co-Founder Marc Raskin defended the Institute’s 50-year policy of rejecting government funding:

As a former co-director of a Washington think tank, I can empathize with those who are the subject of “Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks.” In fact, when Richard J. Barnet and I founded the Institute for Policy Studies in 1963, we were so concerned about the pressure to accept money from any government (including the United States) that we inserted a prohibition against it in the institute’s bylaws. We had left jobs in the Kennedy administration to create the institute expressly because we saw a need for independent voices that could freely critique government policies.

There have been many times when staff members have pleaded for exceptions for some particularly enlightened government or another. I have always held firm. And today, while we do not have a “gleaming new glass and steel headquarters not far from the White House,” we can look with pride at 50 years of speaking truths to power.

Washington, Sept. 8, 2014

Get more news like this, directly in your inbox.

Subscribe to our newsletter.