Defense

Brookings president resigns amid investigation into foreign lobbying

Marine Gen. John Allen, then the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 20, 2012. A former high-ranking U.S. ambassador admitted Friday, June 3, 2022, to illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of Qatar after demanding that prosecutors tell him why Allen, a retired four-star general who worked with him on the effort, has not been charged. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Retired four-star Marine Gen. John Allen resigned as president of the Brookings Institution on Sunday as federal authorities investigate his lobbying on behalf of Qatar.

Glenn Hutchins and Suzanne Nora Johnson, the co-chairs of the think tank’s board, announced Allen’s departure in an email to Brookings staff after he submitted a resignation letter dated Sunday.

“We want to thank John for his contributions to Brookings, including his leadership in successfully guiding the institution during the pandemic, as well as his many years of service and sacrifice for our country,” Hutchins and Johnson wrote in the email.

Brookings had placed Allen on administrative leave on Wednesday, one day after The Associated Press reported that the FBI seized Allen’s electronic data in connection with the investigation. 

Authorities allege Allen made false statements and withheld “incriminating” documents about his role in the lobbying campaign on behalf of the wealthy Persian Gulf nation. Allen has not been charged with any crimes and has previously denied any wrongdoing.

In his resignation letter, Allen said he was “honored” to lead the think tank through the COVID-19 pandemic, also touting its recent focus on social justice and emerging technologies.

“While I leave the institution with a heavy heart, I know it is best for all concerned in this moment,” he wrote.

Before becoming president of Brookings in 2017, Allen served as the special presidential envoy for the global coalition against ISIL in the Obama administration and a variety of other military roles.

“I spent forty-five years in dedicated service to the American people and United States, serving our country and our precious citizens in peace, crisis and war,” Allen wrote in his resignation letter. “I did so with the greatest sense of humility and pride in having been part of something greater than myself.”

The co-chairs of Brookings’s board said Ted Gayer will serve as acting president until his previously announced departure later this summer, adding that arrangements for an ongoing interim leader and the search for a permanent president will be announced later.

“The integrity and objectivity of Brookings’s scholarship constitute the institution’s principal assets, and Brookings seeks to maintain high ethical standards in all its operations,” the co-chairs wrote. “Our policies on research independence and integrity reflect these values.”

Tags Brookings Institution Glenn Hutchins John Allen John Allen Qatar Suzanne Nora Johnson
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