Wednesday, March 15, 2017
A group of leading senators is calling on newly installed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to immediately launch an investigation into efforts by the Obama administration to sway foreign elections by sending taxpayer funds to "extreme and sometimes violent political activists" that promote leftist causes, according to a copy of the letter.
The lawmakers disclosed 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.
A portion of this State Department funding appears to have gone to organizations supported by the controversial liberal billionaire George Soros, according to the letter, which was authored by Republican Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Ted Cruz (Texas), David Perdue (Ga.), and Bill Cassidy (La.).
The senators are asking Tillerson to launch a full-scale investigation into these funding efforts in order to determine how exactly the Obama administration sought to promote left-leaning causes and political parties across the globe.
The latest disclosures of this activity mirror efforts by the Obama administration to send taxpayer funds to Israeli organizations that opposed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the country's last election.
Political leaders from a range of nations spent months informing the lawmakers about these activities.
"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," he said.
The senators are seeking an investigation that would review "all funds associated with promoting democracy and governance and review the programs, accounts, and multiplicity of U.S. entities involved in such activities."
Such an investigation could shed light on the distribution of taxpayer funds to organizations and causes meant to instigate left-leaning political change abroad.
The letter insists that Tillerson should "review how all our tax dollars are being utilized in order to halt activities that are fomenting political unrest, disrespecting national sovereignty and civil society, and ultimately undermine our attempts to build beneficial international relationships."
The lawmakers 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' 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.