NGOs are great at demanding transparency. They’re not so hot at providing it.

By Nives Dolšak and Aseem Prakash

Justice Louis Brandeis famously claimed that sunlight is the best disinfectant. In recent years, “transparency” has become a buzz word, closely synonymous with good governance. Non-governmental organizations are in the forefront of the transparency movement, celebrating heroes such as Edward Snowden. Right-to-information laws have proliferated across the world. Journals demand transparency from scholars about their funding sources. Hillary Clinton is under pressure to reveal the content of her paid speeches to the Wall Street.

Yet there is a question that most NGOs, however fearless, tend to be less interested in answering: Where do they get their money from? When NGOs are asked about it, as an ongoing debate in Israel reveals, they become indignant.

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