Civil Beat reports that U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard is an advisor to a Koch-funded foreign policy think tank. The think tank is based at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. This is surprising because her advising role is not on her latest financial disclosure form.
The university’s Center for the Study of Statesmanship was founded in 2017 through a $2.35 million grant from Koch’s foundation.
Gabbard, a 2020 presidential Democratic nominee hopeful, is one of many advisors to the center. The Koch brothers have often used their money to push their far-right libertarian agendas with the help of donations and dark money. Their wealth also goes toward pushing their ideas on institutions of higher learning, such as Catholic University, Florida State, and George Mason.
Gabbard’s link to the Koch-funded center seems strange, as she has publicly sworn off donations from political action committees and she has spoken on the need to overturn Citizens United.
Yet, the center’s stance aligns with Gabbard’s anti-interventionist beliefs.
“Gabbard, a military veteran, has often opposed U.S. engagement in overseas conflicts, including in war-torn Syria, so she is not out of place among anti-interventionists,” a Sludge article says. “But for a Democrat — especially a 2016 Bernie Sanders surrogate who has progressive views on campaign finance reform and single-payer health care — to accept a position at a think tank funded by Koch and staffed with several Koch-linked individuals is unusual.”
Spokeswoman for Gabbard, Lauren McIlvaine, defended the affiliation, reminding that Gabbard is a member of the Hawaii Army National Guard and served two tours of duty in the Middle East.
“The mission of CSS is aligned with the work that she has dedicated herself to, which is why she agreed to serve on their Council of Advisors,” McIlvaine said.
Still, the financial disclosure omission is what raises questions. Her most recent financial disclosure from 2017 shows that she was involved in three organizations: The Sanders Institute, the Healthy Hawaii Coalition and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Profile in Courage Award Committee. She failed to disclose her affiliation with the Center for the Study of Statesmanship Council of Advisors.