The Daily Pennsylvanian
U. denies complaint that Penn Biden Center accepted undisclosed donations from China
By Tori Sousa 05/30/20 12:44am
Penn’s Biden Center for Diplomacy and Public Engagement is facing a complaint, filed with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging the University has millions of dollars in undisclosed funds from China.
The National Legal and Policy Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit group that monitors ethics in “public life,” announced its complaint with the Department of Education on May 21.The NPLC is demandinga full investigation into the disclosure of the source of “over $70 million from China, of which $22 million were listed as “Anonymous’” according to the organization’s online announcement.
Vice President of University Communications Stephen MacCarthy denied the validity of the complaint, however, calling the allegations “completely untrue.”
According to The Higher Education Act, universities are required to report to the federal government any donation with a foreign source exceeding $250,000. The complaint against Penn’s Biden Centerasks for referral to the Department of Justice to file an enforcement action seeking the University’scompliance to this request.
“NLPC calls upon the University and the Biden Center to release copies of all the gifts and contracts over the last two years and open the books of the Biden Center,” NLPC’s counsel Paul Kamenar said. “The anonymous gift of $14.5 million from China two years ago after the Biden Center opened is particularly suspect. What are they hiding?”
The complaint comes months after the United States Department of Education launched investigations against Harvard and Yale for failing to report foreign donations. Harvard University’s Chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Charles Lieber was then arrested for lying to the U.S. Department of Defense regarding his involvement in a Chinese government program that aimed to recruit foreign researchers.
“We have never solicited any gifts for the Penn Biden Center. Since its inception in 2017, there have been three unsolicited gifts, from two donors, which combined [to a total of] $1,100. Neither of the donors [was] from China,” MacCarthy wrote in a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian.