DOJ drops probe of ex-Brookings Institution president for alleged secret lobbying of Qatar

John Allen stepped down from leading the liberal-leaning think tank in June as the FBI ramped up it probe into an alleged FARA violation.

Updated: January 31, 2023 - 3:17pm

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The Justice Department has closed an investigation into former Brookings Institution President John Allen, a retired four-star Marine general, after he was suspected of secretly lobbying for the government of Qatar, according to Allen's attorney.

"[N]o criminal charges will be brought against General Allen under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or any other law, [beyond a reasonable doubt] on, or as a result of, General Allen’s trip to Qatar in June 2017 or the government’s investigation of those events," Allen's attorney David Schertler said, The New York Times reported Monday.

Allen stepped down from his position leading the liberal-leaning, Washington, D.C., think tank in June 2022, as the FBI ramped up its investigation.

Just the News had reported more than a year earlier how Brookings received $2 million from Qatar while Allen was advocating for the Middle Eastern nation at the White House from 2016 through 2017.

Federal law requires people lobbying on behalf of foreign governments to register with the Justice Department.

"General Allen has never acted as an agent of the Qatari government," Allen spokesperson Beau Phillips said. "Brookings never received a contribution from Qatar or any Qatari government-related entities or individuals in connection with General Allen’s activities."

A law enforcement official confirmed the decision to the Times, but the Justice Department declined to comment to the outlet.

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