DC think tank declines Saudi money amid Khashoggi controversy

DC think tank declines Saudi money amid Khashoggi controversy
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The Middle East Institute, a leading Washington, D.C., think tank, said Monday that it will stop accepting donations from Saudi Arabia pending the investigation into the disappearance and suspected murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate. 

"The Board of Governors has decided to decline any funding from the Saudi government and to keep the matter under active review pending the outcome of the investigation into the case of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi," the group said Monday in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

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Three major lobbying firms in Washington — Glover Park Group, the Harber Group and BGR Group — have also cut ties to Saudi Arabia amid Khashoggi's disappearance.

Additionally, companies such as Google, Uber and Bloomberg have said they will not attend an upcoming finance conference in the kingdom. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, KKR executive David Petraeus and Ford Motor Chairman Bill Ford also are among a number of corporate executives who have withdrawn from the conference.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, however, is still expected to attend the event.

Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Multiple U.S. lawmakers have said that evidence points to Saudi Arabia being complicit in his disappearance, and Turkish authorities say officials working on behalf of the Saudi government murdered Khashoggi and likely dismembered him.

President Trump, however, suggested Monday that "rogue killers" may be the reason for Khashoggi's disappearance.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is reportedly preparing an official account admitting the journalist was killed after entering the consulate. The kingdom has so far publicly denied involvement in his disappearance.