tv Washington Journal CSPAN August 11, 2016 9:59pm-10:46pm EDT
p.m. eastern time on c-span 2. announcer: on saturday, c-span's issue spotlight looks a trade does some other impact on the economy, jobs and the presidential election. and we will defend american jobs and american trades i saying no to bed deals like the transpacific partnership, and unfair trade practices, like when -- mr. trump: people in pennsylvania have lost one third of manufacturing jobs since the clintons put china into the wto. announcer: the program looks at nafta, the 1984 free trade agreement a tween the united states, mexico and canada. clinton: it will cause more jobs for people, for experts, for our markets and for democracy, for our allies.
on hower: a discussion the founding fathers viewed free trade. historically, the united states was not a free trade country. >> an in-depth examination of the wto. the body that enforces global trade rules. >> at the time it was being , 800 more pages of specifics, rules and regulations. my book would be very different. when the two were being negotiated, the u.s. had official advisers, 500 corporate advisors. spotlight onissue trade deals saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org. the new york times has published a series on corporate influence on think tanks. on washington journal we talked
to the reporter who wrote that series. this is 40 minutes. journal" continues. host: back at our table this morning. "ric lipton, "new york times washington correspondent here to talk about a series he did looking at think tanks and corporate influence. i want to read from your first piece where you wrote in the chase for funds, and tanks are pushing agendas important to corporate donors. explain the partnerships that you saw. guest: it used to be that when you went to support a think tank, you would give them a restricted grant. i like the work you do. you play an important role in society. here is $1 million. do the kind of research you want to do that will help inform society about important topic. nowadays, increasingly,
foundations and corporations give project-based funding. they say here is $100,000, $1 million. we wanted to do a report on this specific topic. we also want potentially to see the report as it is been developed and maybe make some comments on it. we would love to see you draft before you publish it. that is a different relationship, and a lot more about project responding is going on now is in washington.it changes the relationship between the donor and think tank. in potentially affect the outcome of the report as well. host: what is the impact? guest: not all intents, something tanks allow the donor to play a significant role in quote corrections to a report to make sure their perspective is heard. it can have an impact on the content of the report. fact, even when
the donor has interviewed the money to have that right to play that role, it is not even disclosed that they would donate the money and play the role. public is misinformed that this is in fact a report that is to some extent almost commissioned by the donor and is going out in the name of the think tank which has this air of authority and independence. host: who is receiving this information and acting upon it? guest: right over there on capitol hill. the reports are passed out every day to staffers and members of congress. members of congress hold the records in their hands and read from them at hearings. they are distributed to the administration. go to the hill and brief staffers on the reports. they are on your show and in our newspapers and everywhere pontificating on the findings. we need to know what role did
the donor play in this study? host: we cover them here on c-span posted by whatever think tank it may be. does the public know who the people are that issued the report and their relationship to these corporations? guest: most of the problem with think tanks these days is an exception. most of them published pretty comfortable lists annually of who their donors are, and it is typically available on the website. but not all of them put in the report itself who the project-based funder of a specific report is. just putting it in your annual someone the fact that was a donor to this particular think tank does not allow you to know that they funded a particular report. level ofa differing
transparency in this whole process. --aking with c-span at aing of c-span, i was function live on c-span, and there was a nice person i have known for a number of years who used to work at the department of homeland security, was a helpful person there, but he was sitting there giving a talk about the role that the department of homeland security plays in doing what they call preclearance at airports in certain countries around the world. you go through customs before you enter the united states. he was among the panelists of an event he was moderating, and he had the title with a guy sitting next to him from the toronto airport authority. this whole event went on c-span but it was never disclose that the person sitting next to him was a client, a lobbyist. he was helping them nationally promote their agenda and using his title as a scholar.
the public should know that. that seems inappropriate to me. host: does it make that title available? guest: at that event, there was no disclosure the fact that the toronto official sitting there was his client. only after the end of the event, i walked up and said stuart, isn't this guy your client? the event was over. c-span was done with his presentation. the u.s. went on to another topic. he said this is totally normal. -- we have done this before. that is normal? that same day, i did not know it, but apparently he told the that this had happened and i asked the question and they post on the website that there was an inappropriate act at this event and that we regret that there was not a disclosure. i happened to call them on it that one day. your viewers never knew this but on their website it is
mentioned. i asked about it one day and it was suddenly outed, but how frequently does that happen? does the public know? host: if you go to c-span.org, you can find event eric is talking about, the passenger preclearance was the topic. what has been the reaction from think tanks? you feature several of them in your story, but what is the reaction, and have they changed policy? guest: even as we were working on the story, and it took us quite a long time, the think tanks were changing their policies. we did a survey late last year of like 25 think tanks and ask them about their policies regarding project-based and outside scholars and potential conflicts of interest. we asked them a series of questions that were pointed. it is clear we were headed with the story. even as we were asking those
questions, the think tanks were starting to change their policies. theicularly regarding outside work that scholars can have as consultants or lobbyists, which seems crazy, at a same time as they have a think tank title, you will see a fair amount of change on that. it seems inappropriate for a scholar to be simultaneously using his or her position at a think tank tumoto pontificate as a consultant to a telecommunications company or a lobbyist. i think you'll see more policies in think tanks to prohibit that. host: you feature bookings institutions in your story. tell us what you found out about andbookings institution, that i wanted to react to what they have to say about your reporting. guest: first, one thing i want to say, think tank
they employ really smart people who have a great level of expertise. on death, congress and the administration relies on them for their knowledge. dear -- their ability to put things into perspective. the reason that this is important and to some extent the public think they are wonks. think tanks are part of the dce economy, the intellectual environment. i admit it -- i admire brookings in the work it does. i just want to preface anything that i am saying in general not just about brookings. we did focus a fair amount on brookings. and they are considered by the , in upen.
they are ranked the number one prestigious think tank in the world. they are well respected. if there is a problem of thatings, it is up place it is integrity, independence and impact, it suggests there is a problem systemically. we spent a fair amount of time looking at them. we also happen to get a lot of internal documents from them that allowed us to see the kind of conversations they were having with donors and put it so -- attentional donors, and the money they were giving -- given. the began to look at the documents and shocked in some cases at the exchanges that were going on in which it were discussing things that were for consulting arrangements and consulting with potential dollars relative to things that in return foriver
contributions. these are tax exempt organizations. they are supposed to be doing work that benefit society. they are not supposed to be there to help the process -- for-profit interest of their donors. we saw lines in the documents that showed us that they were providing donor benefits that seemed inappropriate. host: they said the reporter's thesis to buttress their with phrases lifted from thousands of pages of in draft-document using them out of context. guest: i admire a lot of the work that they do. did,s a report that they kkr is an investment firm based
in new york. decided they would set up a multibillion-dollar fund to do more investments in real estate and infrastructure. it significantly increases its donations to brookings. personinate, a smart works at kkr. we see that he suggested to brookings that they write a report about public-private partnerships, which are type of private equity or investments that they make in sewer systems, fundsplants, the company the infrastructure. and maybe they should cowrite it with kkr. brookings agrees to cope right this. it has been posted on the website and it promotes one of kkr's projects in new jersey.
what you have by doing this report, you are putting the stamp of brookings on this kkr investment effort. -- to a donor. hase's so much of that kkr given hundreds of thousands of dollars to brookings. introducehelp to help their executives to people in kkr. helpingbrookings doing them? from mye benefits that reading of that in exchange for money. i don't see that as a role of a think tank. host: john in pennsylvania, in an dependent. caller: kudos to you for this article. sinclair said it is difficult for a person to
understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it. that sums up these think tanks. heritage, manhattan, american enterprise, all those guys. the cato institute was start by -- started by the koch brothers. there is money behind all of this stuff to push an agenda which is generally a corporate agenda. i want you guys to do a series this.s and expose it's like you say, it is duping the american people. guest: what we observed is this is happening on the left and on the right. it is happening everywhere.
particularly when you have a situations where u.s. scholars who have outside engaged -- engagements. when of the things we found is that think tanks give up these nonresident scholars titles. then the individual -- in this happens on the left and right, the person walks around washington, saying i am a senior fellow nonresident. that -- they are also a consultant. thing is there has been a pleasure for ration in washington, the story focuses mostly on the large institution. are all the small places that have started out that call themselves think tanks. are they really think tanks are advocacy shops that are using the cover of a think tank to promote agendas for the donors? it really has modeled -- it hurts the big institutions.
these small places are narrowly focused on telecommunications and health care. likehey seem to be almost industry-driven entities. the proliferation of those have made the think tank host: a more context process. taxxamination of 75 income an array of researchers who had simultaneously worked as lobbyists, members of corporate boards or outside consultants in litigation with only intermittent disclosures of their dual role at these think tanks. syracuse new york, democrat. good morning. caller: i'd like to know more about the center for american progress. being a democrat, i am wondering why they don't have more ideas offered to the public. let's say the medical device taxes one of them. we know who runs -- podesta runs that organization and emmanuelle
was one of the policy writers for the aca. i'm wondering how a think tank and have no ideas asked to how now that theca, medical device tech is been delayed, i think it's amazing that the think tank does not come up with alternative ideas, like why not tax cousin medics. host: i'll have eric jump in and talk about this. scene toey came on the some extent as an answer to the heritage foundation. it used to be that it was the conservative organization that dominated the clearly slanted space in the think tank world. aftere extent, i think the clinton administration, the left realize, if there is going to be heritage, cato, to the
conservative side than the liberals should have their own think tanks that promotes the progressive agenda. the center for american progress was created by podesta, and now the clinton did -- campaign. focused agendat driven organization that parallels, not as extreme as the heritage. beginning of the growth on the left of ideologically oriented think tanks. complicated washington is that you have more and more ideologically driven think tanks. it's hard to distinguish if it's the ideology that's influencing the report or the strength of the argument and the data that is driving the conclusions. the center for american progress is featured in the stories in a
modest way. and anlow browner advisor in the obama administration had the title of scholar at the center for american progress. it is an unpaid position but at the side time she had become a paid consultant to nuclear matters, which is a nuclear industry entity that is promoting the preservation of nuclear power plants in the united states. presentations and places around the world where she was introduced as a former epa official and a distinguished scholar at the center for american progress, then she wanted to talk about we need to do more about the nuclear power plants because they are in --.rtant part of our before the story came out, she stepped down -- there's a lot of
things happening, she stepped down from her position. she is still on the board at cap . she played an important role in several administrations, but this is an issue. host: a are concerned their integrity will be questioned if it this continues it is any reaction from capitol hill? is there any talk about doing something about their tax-exempt status? i don't think it is any discussion of that. i spent a day on capitol hill before the story came out, near where the subway cars get out and senators came over to vote on various things. i try to talk to them about this topic. a couple of them said -- left at
me -- laughed at me. a lot of them, those that did spend the time to speak with me for a couple minutes, richard blumenthal, from connecticut and elizabeth warren for quite a while on this. they are concerned about this. those are two democrats. they do think about this a lot. they get these reports, these reports are landing on your desk by the dozens, these think tank reports. but members of the congress are concerned about where do these reports really come from them and who pays from them. don't we need to know about them. that there is some discussion of, for example, there is some discussion, when you submit comments to the agency on a proposed rule and
-- ase doing at as a dish a think tank scholar you should disclose you have a financial is -- interest. that should be disclosed as part of the comments, we need to know that information. you're an expert and your argument is much more persuasive than the average person. when you come to testify a congress maybe you should have to disclose who funded your study. there are these truth and testimony forms you fill out. funded bysearch get any particular company that is relevant to study? there is no question like that and maybe it should be included in the house rules. guest: for jeanette, republican. thank you for waiting. i wanted him to react to
advocacy as opposed to research. and heritage action which is a subsidiary have become much more aggressive in the last decade in terms of rating lawmakers on their position in a way that turns them more into advocacy organization then think tanks. it is a blurring of the lines. it is a complexity for the think tank community. what is a think tank. what are its principles, what is its role. -- publicthe percent perceive that role to be. these are becoming increasingly bury -- blurry. it plays an important role. integral --tus as integrity and authority. if all of this is happening, it undermines its authority. it threatens its role in the
ideas in washington. host: paul is next, independent. caller: i have a challenge for all of the c-span junkies out 79 and i have been watching c-span since brian lam first introduced it. the more that people talk, the longer they talk -- i think it's generational. every time that people are talking along and they use the i mean, you know, every time they interject that phrase which is kind of hard on after two or three hours of listening to people
talk, i wonder how people understand how people understand how they are extending their conversation. if they had to put a dime in the jug every time they misuse those phrases we could pay off the national debt. guest: i work on that. morning.ood i'm a phd. i have done my own research and in rock with people -- interact with people. how potentially dangerous this is to the public and also how income believes the process in it convolutions the process in washington. or it might actually be biased.
msnbc and without going into specifics of the positions of the respondents, one of the reasons put forward is on a study and it seemed to be refuted, it didn't really -- the month of rigor to generalize a statement across the board. again particularly with the smaller new institutions that are narrowly focused on industry stec -- sectors, where the data is -- seems to be biased. the conclusions are clear from before the study was started. i think that is less of a problem at the big institutions. one of the things the big institutions say -- and i
believe them -- when they take insistrom donors, they they maintain intellectual control of -- of the outcome of the report. they do the research and richard a conclusion that is contrary to -- and reach a conclusion that is contrary to -- they will still publish the court. -- publish the report. i think that does happen. don't think they typically will publish a report that would completely undermine the donors goals but maybe there will be aspects to the report that aren't consistent with their corporate agenda. about -- with some of the smaller institutions, if the data is state -- stacked. our guest is writing an
article about think tanks and corporate influence. , theollow-up on august 8 caller was asking about the impact of these reports, you talk about it in congress but what about the impact on the courts themselves you with using this type of research or data that has been influenced by corporate interests. guest: some of the think tank scholars are submitting amicus sidingin court cases and with their -- signing as researchers at a think tank and not disclosing that they may on the outside be consultants to industry players. the same thing is happening in court cases. one of the biggest things that can happen -- there is a fair amount of disclosure already.
the problem with these people is frequently they will say, i am a consultant at economist inc., they will mention the name of the firm but you won't know who their clients are. it doesn't do the viewer or reader much help if you have the name of the firm. the more disclosure the better off this world is. florida,t lauderdale it's your turn for a question or comment. --ler: i want to thank ms. mr. lipton for being on your show and talking about this sort of thing.
just mention the fact that some of the smaller think tank when they are proselytizing, one doesn't know where they came you think this guy should know what he is talking about, which leads me to this. a lot of the same people show up on c-span. i love c-span that some of these people do show up on c-span. when some of these guys from smaller think tanks show up on c-span and start talking and they are treated as authorities by the hosts. judge.t is not there to but people listening to them and not knowing where they are coming from when they are actually coming from somewhere have a point of view, just accept them as authorities.
that's one thing i would like to hear the guests talk about. when these people show up on callingw, are they c-span saying please let me come on and talk or is c-span calling them seeing we need a guest today. out -- itften reach depends on the topic. we are topic driven. if there is something in the news about a certain topic we will sometimes not in the news, we are trying different voices and different perspectives to come on the program and talk about it. we try to balance out those perspective. if we have a conservative on a certain issue, we will have a liberal on to talk about that as well. you make a valid point. our job is to ask questions about the gas that are sitting him, where did the research come
from and where do you get your funding from. those are questions that you all ask as well. it is your opportunity to talk to folks in washington and ask them those questions. guest: we have the same problem at the new york times. think hank scholars are often outside consultant. they don't disclose sometimes that this person is also a consultant to a telecommunications industry. we publish talking about net neutrality without disco -- disclosing net neutrality. it is hard to police this. the players that have the platforms must police it and we
must interrogate and question the people who they are taking their questions from. in this area of scholarship, have you as an individual or your institution received funding and which specific companies have funded your work before should know that we give them a platform as a guest status or op-ed platform. i wrote the story with other the three of us spent two years on this. it was a long time coming. we did not work on it full-time for two years that we had been collecting information. we sued the state department to get information. we waited 18 months for them state department to respond.
this is a team of project and neck and myself and my editor thatarious other editors spent weeks and weeks of labor on this to tell the story comprehensively and we hope fairly. host: and we often reach out to these groups. we are often making the phone calls to find out if there is somebody who can speak to this topic. we do often receive hitches like other places, this expert who can talk about this topic. it is a two-way street. transparent with folks about how it works and trying to find out the information like you said. guest: they will always volunteer it. it is our burden to make sure we get the information. not: a republican and and -- in annapolis you are next. caller: thanks for c-span and
thank you mr. lipton. i would like to say i find it rich that some representative from the new york times would be discussing lack of disclosure and objectivity in anything. the new york times has been so biased. i recently read two editorials by her own editors bemoaning the bias. when i hear you talking about the think tanks, if you was substitute the new york times tanks and the dnc your statements would be a hundred percent correct. as far as someone holding up a think tank report, the new york times is the gold standard, if someone reads it in the new york times people think it is beyond reproach. my question is, are we going to be reading articles in the next couple of weeks about how i is your report is? those i agree that reporters -- as reporters we
have an obligation only interviewed think tank scholars and potentially quote them in our stories to know what their financial connection is with the industry that they are talking about. we don't know that. we are quoting them as authorities and giving them a platform in our news stories without fully understanding their financial relationships. that can make our stories bias. we as a newspaper biased? the newspaper is a collection of -- a collection of people. if someone thinks of the new york times is slanted they are entitled to that perspective. i think that we try to represent all points of view. we have been writing aggressively about hillary clinton and donald trump. it al people i am in opportunity reporter. i will take on the left, i will
take on the right. liberal causes, conservative causes. tookook to my stories, i on a pa and the coal companies. i read about both sides. host: your piece along with your colleague, the explanation given ,or clinton charity donors explain what came about and what were the e-mails that were disclosed by conservative watchdog group who asked for e-mails? guest: what happened earlier this week, the judicial watch released an e-mail that it sued to get copies of which were e-mails of some clinton aides that showed when hillary clinton was secretary of state that the clinton foundation had approached some of her aides at the state department to ask them to speak with an individual who is from nigeria of lebanese descent that have been a major
donor to the clinton foundation. there was an individual that was associated with the clinton foundation and the clinton global initiative that contacted an aid to hillary and asked her to facilitate this connection so this gentleman could speak with state department officials. clinton was allowing the clinton foundation to user status to get access for donors, and potentially to get favors for donors. when those e-mails came out earlier this week, i was asked to help examine at situation and to determine whether or not there was any favoritism going on there or special access. what we found so far and the stories are consistent from all the parties we spoke with yesterday, joe becker and others , four of us were working on this yesterday. what we found was that it looks
like this individual from nigeria, it's hard to know whether or not this really happened. everyone is saying that he was simply trying to share information, him being of lebanese descent to the state department about an upcoming election in lebanon that he felt was relevant that the state department should know. he simply suck the help of someone that he knew from the clinton global initiative -- he the help ofated someone he knew from the clinton global initiative to. that's what all the party said was happening. it doesn't seem that it -- inappropriate.
got iny he never in fact connection with jeff feldman from the state department. it wasn't paid to play because he didn't get the access anyway. to saidparties we spoke that is what happened. at the newspaper, we have the obligation to dig into that quickly and the public deserves to know what was happening. it doesn't appear to be anything that consequential. there will also -- there will always be more e-mails to come. i will probably continue to read her e-mails for the x number of years. host: west virginia, independent caller. ask mr. lipton if use looked into the clinton foundation and the clinton library. he looked into one part. what about all the money saudi arabia has given corporations and stuff.
are you a democrat? guest: the clinton foundation, the new york times and the wall street journal, many publications have spent an amount of time donors and clintones of hillary and the foundation of bill clinton and the relationships. we have filled many pages of the newspaper with an examination. i have not participated on many of those stories. we have invested a great deal of energy in trying to make sure that the public understands is relationships and any implications. there are a lot of valid questions about all of the corporate and foreign donations and whether or not it places a
burden on hillary and bill clinton to try to help those companies and governments in a way that could potentially affect their activities relative to the government. those are valid questions. the clinton family recognizes that as well, that they need to make changes relative to the way the clinton foundation works. my own political perspective by ma registration -- i'm a registered independent. i am an equal opportunity reporter. you give me a good story and i will write about it. you can find eric lipton's reporting on nytimes.com and you can follow him at twitter. thank you for your time. you can find the
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fight the spread of zika and develop a vaccine. hillary clinton outlines her economic plans at a campaign event and donald trump speaks to a meeting of evangelical pastors in orlando florida. sunday night on q and a, a documentary film instructor talks about his student's award-winning documentary. some of which have been grand prize winners at our annual student competition. he teaches at the high school in oklahoma. >> not the kind of teacher who will look at something that is not very good and say, that is nice. you did a nice job. i will say, what is not working. eventually every one of my kids makes it better peace than they did at the beginning. every single one of them. eventually begin to do really well internalize all of the stuff. soo