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Brookings is furloughing the retired general amid an FBI investigation

The prestigious Brookings Institution placed its president, retired four-star Navy General John Allen, on administrative leave on Wednesday amid a federal probe into Allen’s foreign lobbying work.

Brookings’ announcement came a day after The Associated Press reports on new court filings showing that the FBI recently seized Allen’s electronic files as part of an investigation into his role in an illegal foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of the wealthy Persian Gulf nation of Qatar.

An FBI agent, in an affidavit in support of a search warrant, said there was “substantial evidence” that Allen knowingly violated a foreign lobbying law. Allen made false statements and withheld “incriminating” documents, the FBI agent’s affidavit said.

Allen has not been charged with any crime and has previously denied any wrongdoing.

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Brookings told employees Wednesday that the institute itself is not the subject of federal investigations. The think tank’s executive vice president, Ted Gayer, will serve as acting president.

“Brookings has strict policies prohibiting donors from conducting research activities,” the email reads. “We have every confidence in the ability of the Brookings team to remain focused on delivering quality, independence and impact.”

The federal investigation into Allen has already ensnared Richard G. Olson, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan pleaded guilty Federal lawsuits last week, and Imaad Zuberi, a rich political donor is now serving a 12-year sentence on corruption charges. Several members of Congress were interviewed as part of the investigation.

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The new court filings detail Allen’s behind-the-scenes efforts to help Qatar sway US politics in 2017, when a diplomatic crisis erupted between the gas-rich Persian Gulf monarchy and its neighbors.

Allen’s alleged work for Qatar was to travel to Qatar and meet with the country’s top officials to offer them advice on how to influence US policy, as well as Qatar’s stance on senior White House officials and members of Congress, the FBI affidavit states.

Brookings is one of the most respected think thanks in the US

Allen, who was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution before becoming president in late 2017, used his official email account with the think tank for some of his communications regarding Qatar, the affidavit said.

Qatar has long been one of Brookings’ biggest donors, although the institution says it recently stopped accepting Qatari funds.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/08/brookings-places-retired-general-on-leave-amid-fbi-probe/ Brookings is furloughing the retired general amid an FBI investigation

Sarah Y. Kim

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