by WorldTribune Staff, March 15, 2017
The Obama administration used U.S. taxpayer funds in an attempt to influence foreign elections and promote leftist causes abroad, according to a group of senators who are demanding that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson immediately launch an investigation.
The Obama State Department appears to have sent some of the funds to organizations supported by leftist billionaire George Soros, according to a letter to Tillerson authored by Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas, David Perdue of Georgia, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
In the letter, the senators cited “multiple conversations with foreign diplomats who outlined active political meddling by the Obama administration’s State Department, including the use of taxpayer funds to support leftist causes in Macedonia, Albania, Latin America, and Africa,” the Washington Free Beacon reported on March 14.
“Over the past few months, elected officials and political leaders of foreign nations have been coming to me with disappointing news and reports of U.S. activity in their respective countries,” Lee said in a statement. “This includes reports of diplomats playing political favorites, USAID funds supporting extreme and sometimes violent political activists, and the U.S. government working to marginalize the moderates and conservatives in leadership roles.”
“This sort of political favoritism from our missions around the world is unacceptable and endangers our bilateral relationships,” Lee said.
The senators are asking the State Department to review “all funds associated with promoting democracy and governance and review the programs, accounts, and multiplicity of U.S. entities involved in such activities.”
In the letter, the senators outline specific evidence of political meddling.
“We have received credible reports that, over the past few years, the U.S. Mission there has actively intervened in the party politics of Macedonia, as well as in the shaping of its media environment and civil society, often favoring left-leaning political groups over others,” they wrote.
This activity was pushed by USAID and groups associated with Soros’s Open Society Foundations, according to the lawmakers.
The organizations are said to have pushed a “progressive agenda” meant to “invigorate the political left” using taxpayer funds, according the letter.
“Respected leaders from Albania have made similar claims of U.S. diplomats and Soros-backed organizations pushing for certain political outcomes in their country,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Time and again, foreign leaders visiting Washington have expressed concerns to us about how American taxpayer funds are being used counterproductively in their respective countries,” the lawmakers disclosed, referring to efforts undertaken in Latin America and Africa.
This type of interference in foreign countries must stop immediately, the lawmakers said.