Brookings Institution puts retired general on leave amid FBI investigation

The celebrated Brookings Establishment put its president, retired Marine Common John Allen, on administrative depart Wednesday amid a federal investigation into his position in an unlawful lobbying marketing campaign on behalf of the rich Persian Gulf nation.

The Brookings Establishment announcement got here a day after an Related Press report In new courtroom filings that present the FBI lately confiscated Allen’s digital knowledge as a part of the investigation, he particulars his behind-the-scenes efforts to assist Qatar affect US coverage in 2017 when a diplomatic disaster erupted between the gas-rich monarchy and its neighbors.

Allen, who commanded US and NATO forces in Afghanistan earlier than being chosen to steer the Brookings Establishment in late 2017, has not been charged with any crimes. His spokesman, Beau Phillips, mentioned Wednesday that Allen did nothing improper or unlawful.

“All through many years of public service in fight and diplomacy, Common Allen has earned an unparalleled status for honor and integrity,” Phillips mentioned in an announcement. “We stay up for correcting the lies about Common Allen that had been incorrectly publicized on this matter.”

Brookings advised staff in an electronic mail on Wednesday that the institute itself just isn’t underneath investigation and that the assume tank’s government vp, Ted Geyer, will function appearing president.

“We have now full confidence within the Brookings workforce’s capability to proceed to give attention to delivering high quality, independence and impression,” the e-mail learn.

The Brookings Company pays Allen greater than $1 million yearly, in keeping with the most recent out there tax information. The workers electronic mail didn’t say if Allen would proceed to be paid whereas on trip.

The federal investigation into Allen has already entrapped Richard J. Olson, the previous ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan who has pleaded responsible. to federal costs final week, and Imad al-Zubayri, a prolific political donor He’s now serving a 12-year jail sentence on corruption costs. A number of members of Congress had been additionally interviewed.

An FBI agent mentioned in an affidavit in assist of the search warrant that there was “substantial proof” that Allen had knowingly violated the Overseas Lobbyist Act, making false statements and withholding “incriminating” paperwork.

Allen’s behind-the-scenes work included touring to Qatar and assembly with the nation’s prime officers to advise them on find out how to affect US coverage, in addition to selling Qatar’s view to senior White Home and Congressional officers, in keeping with FBI testimony. .

The Qatari embassy didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The Brookings Establishment is among the most influential assume tanks in the USA and has lengthy had sturdy ties to Qatar. In 2007, the Qatari Ministry of Overseas Affairs permitted funding for a department supported by the Brookings Establishment in Qatar known as the Brookings Doha Middle.

The Qatari authorities mentioned in a 2012 press launch that the middle’s position included “reflecting the intense picture of Qatar within the worldwide media, particularly the American one,” in keeping with a New York Occasions report that confirmed Qatar made $14.4 million in donations to the Brookings Establishment. 4 12 months interval.

As a nonprofit, Brookings doesn’t must disclose its donations however does voluntarily disclose some knowledge. Its annual experiences present that Qatar gives at the least $2 million yearly from 2016 to 2021.

In an announcement, Brookings mentioned Allen determined in 2019 to cease receiving any new donations from Qatar and to shut the Brookings Doha Middle.

“The Brookings Establishment has sturdy insurance policies in place to forestall donors from directing analysis actions,” reads the e-mail to workers Wednesday.

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Sudirman reported from Richmond, Virginia, and Mustian from New Orleans.

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Contact the Related Press’s international investigative workforce at Investigative@ap.org or https://www.ap.org/suggestions/

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