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U.S. Colleges Hid More Than $6.5 Billion in Foreign Funding

Major American universities failed to disclose more than $6.5 billion in donations from foreign governments, including China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, according to an investigation by the Department of Education.

“The threat of improper foreign influence in higher education is real,” Education Department secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement announcing the findings last week. “Transparency in foreign funding of higher education is not just something I think is a good thing; it’s the law. For too long, enforcement of that law was lax, but not anymore.”

The disclosure follows a months-long investigation by the Education Department into the ways foreign governments peddle influence at American colleges, including Harvard University, Georgetown, Cornell, Yale, and Stanford. While American schools are required to report the contributions they receive from outside the country, many have failed to do so during the past four decades. Universities receiving money from foreign nations, such as China and Russia, are often pressured to hold programs and events that portray those nations in a favorable light.

Since launching an online portal in June that more easily allows schools to report foreign funding, the Education Department has recorded more than 7,000 transactions totaling nearly $4 billion.

Federal investigators found that some schools misreported the amounts of money they receive.

At least two universities “failed to accurately account” for funding that went to campuses located in Doha, Qatar. The Qatari government partially funded both campuses, fostering concerns that Qatar “exerted its financial influence to stifle free speech.”

It was also found that Chinese technology company Huawei, which has been deemed a national-security threat by the U.S. government, “had financial ties to nearly all the investigated institutions.” This is of particular concern due to Huawei’s efforts to gain a competitive edge over Western tech companies.

Chinese companies also were found to be working with at least one U.S. university on a research project involving crowd surveillance and predictive AI behavior, “which the Chinese government could potentially harness for nefarious purposes,” according to the Education Department.

Saudi Arabian prince Alwaleed bin Talal used his fortune to send money to Georgetown, which in turn tailored its teaching programs to avoid issues that might paint the Middle Eastern state in a poor light, the investigation found.

Adam Kredo is senior writer reporting on national security and foreign policy matters for the Washington Free Beacon. An award-winning political reporter who has broken news from across the globe, Kredo’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary Magazine, the Drudge Report, and the Jerusalem Post, among many others. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is kredo@freebeacon.com.

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New Hampshire Dem Failed to Disclose Relationship with Lobbyist

A New Hampshire Democrat failed to disclose his relationship with an ex-lobbyist, the New Hampshire Union-Leader reported.

Rep. Chris Pappas did not publicly disclose his relationship with former Amazon lobbyist Vann Bentley, who left his job in August 2019. At that time, Pappas was a sitting member of Congress.

Pappas’s Republican opponent, Matt Mowers, first broached the issue in a debate last week.

“Congressman, you want to talk about relationships with corporate special interests?” Mowers asked Pappas. “With all due respect, you’ve been dating a corporate lobbyist who actually was lobbying on behalf of Amazon at the time. You were dating a corporate lobbyist. And the fact of the matter is you never disclosed it.”

Pappas confirmed the relationship after the debate but said it did not affect his actions while in Congress.

“By his own admission, congressman Pappas has confirmed what we knew all along: he isn’t being truthful with the people of New Hampshire,” said Mowers campaign manager John Corbett.

The potential conflict of interest is just the latest headache for Pappas. Earlier this month, he sent out a fundraising email with recently deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s name in the sender line. In September, two New Hampshire police unions flipped their 2018 endorsement of Pappas to Mowers because of dissatisfaction with the congressman’s law and order record.

Mowers, a former Trump campaign communications official and State Department diplomat, recently broke even in polls. RealClearPolitics announced Monday it now rates the race a “Toss Up.”

Jack Beyrer is a news writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He covers breaking news in national security and domestic politics. Jack previously interned with RealClearPolitics and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and is a graduate of Wake Forest University where he majored in history. He can be reached at beyrer@freebeacon.com.

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Channeling Beto O’Rourke, Cal Cunningham Abandons Family to Publish Travel Blog

Cheatin’ Cal Cunningham, the North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate, is channeling failed politician Beto O’Rourke as he tries to run out the clock in the final days of his scandal-plagued 2020 campaign.

Cunningham has avoided the media since his disastrous virtual press conference on October 9, in which he repeatedly refused to say whether or not he cheated on his wife with more than one mistress. “I’ve said what I’m gonna say about it,” he said, awkwardly. “I’ve answered the question.” (He hadn’t.)

According to the same website that broke the story of Cunningham’s affair with Arlene Guzman Todd, the candidate isn’t even hiding out in his own basement these days. Cunningham’s wife, Elizabeth, appears to have kicked her husband out of their family home in Raleigh—where Cunningham had sex with his mistress in July—shortly after that embarrassing press conference.

Cunningham has reportedly been staying with his sister, Catherine, for the past several weeks. During that time, Cunningham has pretended to campaign like a regular candidate who wasn’t caught cheating on his wife. He has been posting photos on social media of his “conversations” with regular voters—staged events to which the press was not invited.

His campaign also published a blog documenting Cunningham’s travels across the state. The prose is not as resplendent as Beto’s, but the yearning for catharsis is the same, as are the absentee father vibes. At least the worst thing Beto ever did to his wife was serving her a bowl of “avocado” that was actually a child’s turd.

“These conversations illustrate what this campaign is about: improving people’s lives,” Cunningham’s blog concludes. His wife and kids might beg to differ.

 

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is senior writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He can be reached at stiles@freebeacon.com.

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HANDMAID’S FAIL: Liberal Cosplay Couldn’t Stop Amy Coney Barrett from Joining Supreme Court

Amy Coney Barrett officially joined the Supreme Court on Monday, one year to the day after President Donald J. Trump successfully assassinated ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and 38 days since the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Barrett was sworn in at the White House after the Senate voted 52-48 to confirm her nomination, an outcome favored by a majority of Americans. Barrett’s “her-storic” ascension to the High Court is a victory for Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party, and all Americans who support greater female representation in government.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said today “will go down as one of the darkest days in the 231-year history of the United States Senate,” while Sen. Ed Marley (D., Mass.) denounced Barrett as a “racist,” sexist” “homophobe.” Others suggested Barrett was secretly plotting to reinstitute slavery in the United States. 

Democrats had spent weeks trying to thwart the will of the people by painting Barrett as a religious fanatic with too many children whose fondness for modern comforts such as electricity violated her so-called “originalist” view of the Constitution, which was authored prior to the invention of electricity.

Aggrieved liberals protested Barrett’s nomination by, among other things, engaging in hysterical cosplay. They paraded in front of the Supreme Court dressed in red robes and white bonnets like characters from The Handmaid’s Tale, a novel-turned-Hulu-series about what liberals think Mike Pence actually believes.

Professional journalists and other Democrats amplified hysterical accusations from an unreliable source about a Christian group with which Barrett is affiliated. They flagrantly violated expert guidelines on how to cover powerful women without engaging in “sexist reporting.”

They even attacked Barrett’s family, which is more racially diverse than most leading liberal institutions, by refusing to condemn preeminent “anti-racism” scholar Ibram X. Kendi for describing Barrett’s adopted black children as “props” of white supremacy.

None of it worked, however, because Barrett was an intelligent and likable nominee. She ingratiated herself with viewers of her confirmation hearings by politely suffering through mansplaining lectures from male Democratic senators.

Not even the super lawyer Michael Avenatti, a onetime Democratic presidential frontrunner who led the #Resistance to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination in 2018, could dig up allegations that would tarnish Barrett’s reputation. In fairness, his failure to do so was mainly the result of being in prison for fraud.

In some ways, the addition of Barrett to the Supreme Court honors the legacy of the woman she replaced. The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a tireless advocate for female empowerment; Barrett is female. QED. But it also represents an embarrassing blunder. “Notorious RBG” could have retired at any point during the Obama administration. Instead, she bet the house on Hillary Clinton’s ability to win an election—a misguided decision, in retrospect.

McConnell celebrated Ginsburg’s hubris during a speech on the Senate floor. “This is something to really be proud of and feel good about,” he said of Barrett’s confirmation. “We made an important contribution to the future of this country. A lot of what we have done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. [The libs] won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”

Andrew Stiles is senior writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He can be reached at stiles@freebeacon.com.

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Barrett Faces Gauntlet of Challenges in First Weeks As Justice

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, sworn in Monday night after the Senate confirmed her nomination 52-48, has joined the Supreme Court under trying circumstances.

The Court is currently handling an emergency application involving absentee mail-in ballot deadlines in North Carolina, a hotly contested battleground. Democrats and progressive advocacy groups are pressing Barrett to recuse herself from such matters, arguing that President Donald Trump has created an appearance of bias by connecting her nomination with post-election court battles. Beyond the election, the Court will soon decide whether to hear an abortion appeal from Mississippi, which could embolden state-level efforts to restrict the procedure.

Barrett would have held the deciding vote in an emergency appeal from the battleground state of Pennsylvania that deadlocked the short-handed Court on Oct. 19. In that case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court told election officials to count tardy mail-in ballots received by Nov. 6, unless it was more likely than not the ballot was submitted after Election Day. Keystone State Republicans asked the justices to impose an Election Day deadline. The justices split four to four, so the Pennsylvania court’s order was upheld.

Barrett is facing heavy pressure to disqualify herself from such cases, after Trump said the Senate should confirm his nominee to ensure the Court has a full complement of justices to resolve any post-election disputes. The pressure campaign leans on a 2009 Supreme Court case involving a West Virginia coal baron who donated $3 million to help elect a state judge. That judge in turn cast a deciding vote protecting the donor’s company from a $50 million damages judgment. A 5-4 Court held that the Constitution required the judge to recuse, saying a reasonable person would conclude the judge was biased based on an “appraisal of psychological tendencies and human weakness.”

Applying that standard to Barrett’s case, Democrats argue the reasonable onlooker will suspect the new justice feels bound to support the man who just appointed her to the High Court. Barrett pledged to fully and faithfully apply the recusal law during her confirmation hearings, but declined to disqualify herself from particular cases in advance.

“The issue is not whether Barrett has good intentions or is horribly biased; it’s whether a reasonable observer could reasonably question her participating in a dispute involving Trump’s reelection as a neutral arbiter of fact and law,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) wrote in a Washington Post column. “This inherent conflict was evident from the start—but Trump gave away the game.”

Decisions to disqualify ultimately rest with each individual justice. While federal judges are required to follow a code of conduct, those ethics rules are not binding on justices of the Supreme Court. Barrett may look to the example of her one-time mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia, who was similarly urged to recuse himself from a 2004 case involving then-vice president Dick Cheney, a friend and hunting companion. Scalia refused and wrote a 20-page memo explaining why recusal, though sometimes necessary, would disservice the Court and the parties in that particular case.

Beyond the immediate press of the election, Barrett will soon have an opportunity to weigh in on an abortion petition that has been pending before the Court since August. The dispute involves a Mississippi law that bans abortions past 15 weeks, barring severe fetal abnormality.

One question in the case arose from the Supreme Court’s June abortion decision, in which Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal bloc to strike down Louisiana’s abortion-clinic regulations. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote an opinion for the four liberal justices holding the regulations unconstitutional because the burdens they created outweighed the benefits. Roberts wrote a solo opinion striking down Louisiana’s law on different grounds.

In the ensuing months, federal courts have split as to which legal test from June’s case they should follow. Two federal appeals courts say Roberts’s rationale is binding on the lower courts, while a third court chose to follow the burdens-benefits approach.

While that disagreement may sound arcane, it’s very significant for the odds that the justices will hear the Mississippi case. The Supreme Court tends to take up cases involving legal questions over which multiple courts disagree.

Legal briefs from all sides of the Mississippi dispute were submitted by August 19. The next step is for the justices to decide whether to hear the case. The case is No. 19-1392 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Kevin Daley covers the Supreme Court for the Washington Free Beacon. He has covered the Supreme Court since 2016. His email is daley@freebeacon.com.

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Amy Coney Barrett Sworn in at the White House

After Senate Republicans voted to confirm her to the U.S. Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett took an oath in support of the Constitution at the White House Monday night.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas swore in Barrett in a ceremony on the White House’s South Lawn. She will officially become a justice tomorrow at the Supreme Court after taking her judicial oath in a ceremony with Chief Justice John Roberts.

Senate Republicans voted to confirm Barrett 52-48 with only one Republican voting against her confirmation. No Democrats voted in her favor.

She will be joining the Court at a busy time. Justices will soon be ruling on high-profile cases involving absentee mail-in ballot deadlines, abortion, religious freedom, and other contentious topics.

Despite having gained a majority of the public’s support over the course of her confirmation hearings, Barrett faced criticism from Democrats because of her originalist jurisprudence and conservative personal beliefs. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) called her confirmation “one of the darkest days in the 231-year history of the United States Senate.”

Josh Christenson is a media analyst for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from Wheaton College in 2016. Before joining the Free Beacon, he was a high school teacher and a legislative intern in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached at christenson@freebeacon.com.

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Supreme Court Rejects Late Ballots In Battleground Wisconsin

In a victory for Republicans Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a Democratic request to count mail-in ballots received after Election Day in Wisconsin.

The Court rejected the request, from a group of Democratic voters in Wisconsin, five to three, with Justice Elena Kagan leading the liberal trio in dissent. The Wisconsin Elections Commission anticipates that between 1.8 and 2 million voters will cast absentee ballots, and Democrats believe as many as 160,000 ballots will be received after the election even though they were sent on time.

The decision comes as Wisconsin officials scramble to reform a vote-tabulating system that is not designed to accommodate mail-in voting on the scale expected this year. Unlike many states that rely on a single agency, Wisconsin’s decentralized system leaves election administration to dozens of county clerks and thousands of municipal officials. President Trump carried Wisconsin by 20,000 votes in 2016, presaging an anxious and potentially chaotic night for poll workers in a state that could decide the election.

U.S. District Judge William Conley on Sept. 21 ordered election officials to make a range of accommodations in light of the coronavirus pandemic: Among other things, he authorized the online delivery of mail-in or absentee ballots and pushed the Election Day deadline for mail-in ballots back six days, provided they were sent on or by Election Day. The Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals paused Conley’s order on Oct. 8, citing a legal principle that judges should rarely alter election rules as the balloting nears.

The timing question is central to Monday’s case and to numerous other election disputes surrounding the November election. In a 2006 Supreme Court case called Purcell v. Gonzalez, the justices said last-minute judicial amendments to voting procedures should be avoided for the good of the political process.

“Court orders affecting elections, especially conflicting orders, can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls,” Purcell reads. “As an election draws closer, that risk will increase.”

Purcell has been central to the pandemic-related election cases hurtling through the courts. Much of that litigation has unfolded in battleground states, meaning the principle may be a factor in the ultimate outcome of the election.

Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to make reference to Purcell Monday, admonishing the district court for tinkering with Wisconsin’s laws “in the thick of an election season.” In his own opinion Monday night, Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted the Court has made this position clear half a dozen times in recent months.

Some have treated Purcell like a bright-line rule that generally forbids judges from last-minute interference with election procedures. In a recent case from South Carolina, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson dissented when the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to stop a trial judge who suspended the state’s witness signature requirement for absentee ballots. Wilkinson lamented that the court was “gumming up the works and making a hard task even harder.”

“It is a challenging enough task to run an election in these trying circumstances without the uncertainty and upheaval of injunctions, stays, appeals, etc,” Wilkinson wrote. “This ‘judicially created confusion’ is one reason why the Supreme Court has prohibited lower courts from changing voting rules shortly before elections.”

The Supreme Court ultimately reinstated South Carolina’s witness signature rule.

Others, like the lawyers representing Wisconsin voters in Monday’s case, say Purcell doesn’t set a hard stop on judicial changes to election procedures. Rather, the principle warns that the prospect of confusion or administrative chaos might outweigh other considerations, like harm to voters. So while Purcell implies a presumption against late-breaking adjustments, it’s not an absolute prohibition. That’s especially true now, when the coronavirus has made in-person voting riskier.

“These are extraordinary circumstances,” lawyers for the Wisconsin voters told the justices. “The world is in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic caused by a virus that spreads most easily in the conditions in which we usually vote. As a consequence, millions of voters, at the encouragement of the state, have turned to voting by mail, even while the Postal Service is hampered by delays. Whatever the rule for ordinary circumstances, Purcell has precious little to say about the circumstances here.”

Monday’s case is No. 20A66 DNC v. Wisconsin State Legislature.

DNC v. Wisconsin state legi… by Washington Free Beacon

Kevin Daley covers the Supreme Court for the Washington Free Beacon. He has covered the Supreme Court since 2016. His email is daley@freebeacon.com.

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Barrett Confirmation ‘One of the Darkest Days’ in Senate History

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said on Monday that Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court will “go down as one of the darkest days” in the Senate’s history.

At the close of his speech ahead of the Senate’s confirmation vote, Schumer lamented that “generations yet unborn will suffer the consequences” of Barrett’s nomination and characterized Monday as “one of the darkest days in the 231-year history of the United States Senate.”

While notably more civil than the last confirmation battle to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Democrats have sought to cast Barrett as a retrograde jurist and a political pawn of the GOP. They have argued, among other things, that a Barrett appointment to the Supreme Court would end Obamacare or provide President Donald Trump with an advantage in the event of a contested election.

Senate Democrats also lambasted Barrett for her use of the term “sexual preference” while discussing the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, even though leading Democrats have used the term for years.

For her part, Barrett has sought to return focus to her originalist jurisprudence, arguing that her appointment would not lead to dramatic changes in Supreme Court precedent.

But when Republicans voted to approve Barrett’s nomination last week, Democrats boycotted the vote, leaving in their empty seats poster pictures of constituents who would be harmed if Obamacare were overturned. Legal experts said it is highly unlikely the Supreme Court will undo the health care law.

Josh Christenson is a media analyst for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from Wheaton College in 2016. Before joining the Free Beacon, he was a high school teacher and a legislative intern in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached at christenson@freebeacon.com.

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Majority Believe Biden Knew About Son’s Foreign Business Ventures

Most likely voters believe Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was involved in his son’s foreign business deals, according to a Monday Rasmussen poll.

The survey found that 54 percent of likely voters believe that Joe Biden likely was “consulted about and perhaps even profited in” Hunter Biden’s foreign involvement in a Chinese company. Only 38 percent of respondents said it was unlikely the former vice president knew about his son’s affairs abroad. 

The poll comes just days after one of Hunter Biden’s former business partners alleged that Joe Biden was privy to discussions in 2017 regarding his son’s dealings with CEFC China Energy Co., a Chinese oil company. 

Ninety-five percent of President Donald Trump’s supporters believe it’s likely the elder Biden was at least informed of his son’s business ventures, compared with just 15 percent of Biden supporters. The report also found that 35 percent of likely voters believe Joe Biden is “less ethical” than most politicians, compared with 33 percent of respondents who believe he is more ethical. And while 45 percent of white respondents believe Joe Biden was involved in his son’s business dealings, more than half of black respondents also said it was “very likely” that the former vice president knew about Hunter Biden’s work abroad. 

The results were consistent for each age and racial demographic group identified by Rasmussen.

In addition to recent allegations that the elder Biden knew about his son’s overseas business deals, the New York Post uncovered an email exchange from 2014 in which the younger Biden appeared to use his clout to increase his salary at Burisma, one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies. He’s also profited from dealings in other countries, including China and Kazakhstan. 

A State Department official testified last year that he warned Joe Biden about his son’s role in Burisma in 2015, saying the younger Biden’s work there looked “terrible” for the Obama administration. 

The Post‘s sweep of a hard drivebelieved to be a copy from Hunter Biden’s laptop—also discovered photos of Hunter Biden smoking a crackpipe and, allegedly, child pornography. Evidence of the latter has been sent to the FBI for investigation. 

Joe Biden has denied all involvement in his son’s business dealings.

Alex Nester is an intern at the Washington Free Beacon and will begin a fellowship with The Public Interest in September. She graduated from Hillsdale College this spring with a bachelor of arts in economics.

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Northwestern President Condemns Anti-Semitic Protests

Northwestern University’s president condemned anti-Semitic protesters who swarmed his residence in the name of police abolition.

University president Morton Schapiro issued a statement condemning students and outside agitators who vandalized and burned school property and surrounded his home after six consecutive nights of anti-police protests. Protesters gathered in front of Schapiro’s home and chanted “Piggy Morty,” a slur that Schapiro wrote came “dangerously close to a longstanding trope against observant Jews like myself.”

“What started as peaceful protests have recently grown into expressions that have been anything but peaceful or productive,” Schapiro said. “I refuse to engage with individuals who continue to use the tactics of intimidation and violence.”

“Whether it was done out of ignorance or out of anti-Semitism, it is completely unacceptable,” he noted.

The protests were led by the activist group “NU Community Not Cops,” which calls for the abolition of the Northwestern University police department. Calls for police department abolition have become commonplace on campuses across the nation, including at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University.

Schapiro said Northwestern will continue to improve the university’s police department but has no intention of abolishing it. He also promised to punish students who break the law.

“An essential aspect of education is the discernment of actions and consequences,” his statement reads. “If you, as a member of the Northwestern community, violate rules and laws, I am making it abundantly clear that you will be held accountable.”

Chrissy Clark is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. She reports on college campuses and issues of higher education. Her work is featured in The Federalist and The Daily Signal. Chrissy received her degree in political science from Michigan State University. Follow her on social media @chrissyclark_ or contact her at chrissy@freebeacon.com.