Basically, the article is about thinktanks taking money from foriegn goverments like Quatar and UAE to do what thinktanks do to/for the American government, which does come off as Lobbying
I think the stated roles/goals of the think tanks specified in this "expose" (a bit of a misnomer considering) need to be considered.
They clearly specify an "internationalist approach", as in, expanding international co-operation and social/economic welfare.
As an example, from the Center for Global Development's mission statement:
"to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community to make the world a more prosperous, just, and safe place for us all.
The policies and practices of the rich and the powerful—in rich nations, as well as in the emerging powers, international institutions, and global corporations—have significant impacts on the world’s poor people. We aim to improve these policies and practices through research and policy engagement to expand opportunities, reduce inequalities, and improve lives everywhere."
I would think that alone would have made the results of this "expose" so abundantly obvious as to amount to a "well, duh" moment. Perhaps these "investigative reporters" should focus a little more on actual, real, investigation as opposed to dramatically restating the obvious.
Wouldn't you expect an organization with such a mission statement to be accepting support from every place that supports the same mission/goal?