(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) sent a letter to Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of the Optica Foundation, expressing their concern over recent reporting that Optica has accepted millions of dollars from Huawei — a China-based company whose operations are restricted in the United States — to fund research prizes. The reporting found that Optica masked the fact that Huawei was a source of research grant funds, leaving grant recipients unaware of the origin of the money they received from Optica.

“As the leader of the premiere scientific society promoting optics research in the United States, you know the sensitive nature of much of the research in the field,” Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Lofgren said in the letter. “In fact, the importance of optics research may well be the reason Huawei has invested so much in its relationship with the Optica Foundation – it is one of only five ‘Lifetime Donors’ that, as of 2023, donated over $1 million to the Foundation, and it funded 10 grants totaling $1 million in 2023. In your statement to Bloomberg, you said ‘there is nothing unusual’ about donors who ‘prefer to remain anonymous, including U.S. donors.’ This ignores the circumstances that make the Optica Foundation’s decision deeply unusual in the context of our heightened national awareness of research security concerns. Three of the Huawei-funded Optica Foundation Challenge 2023 recipients, and three of the 2022 recipients, were affiliated with U.S. institutions. In recent years, Congress has mandated disclosure of foreign support by institutions receiving federal funding. By masking the source of the Optica Foundation Challenge funding, your organization has compromised the ability of U.S. research institutions to comply with the law.”

The letter can be found here.