The Obama administration sent U.S. taxpayer funds to a group backed by billionaire George Soros to fund left-wing activities in Albania, a conservative watchdog group says.
The group, Judicial Watch, obtained 32 pages of records from the Justice Department this week through a May 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID.)
The new documents show USAID funds were sent through the agency’s Civil Society Project to back Soros’ left-wing "East West Management Institute" through USAID's "Justice for All" campaign. USAID provided $8.8 million in 2016 to that campaign.
The Justice for All Project was designed to strengthen the effectiveness and transparency of the courts in Albania. The project aimed to increase citizens’ trust in the judiciary and a more efficient judicial system, according to USAID.
Judicial Watch said ,though, that money was used specifically to give the Albanian socialist government greater control of the judiciary system.
“The Obama administration quietly spent at least $9 million in U.S. taxpayers’ dollars in direct collusion with left-wing billionaire George Soros’ backing of a socialist government in Albania,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement Wednesday. “It is particularly outrageous that the State Department allowed the Soros operation to help direct taxpayer funds to other groups.”
A USAID official told Fox News on Wednesday that the agency did not, however, provide grants to Soros' Open Society Foundation in Albania.
But Judicial Watch said the records revealed that the State Department gave Soros’ Open Society Foundation “direct input” for its own program funding reviews in Albania.
One report, from Feb. 10, 2017 on “Engagement with the Open Society Foundation for Albania” stated that “as one of the major assistance providers in Albania, representatives for the Open Society Foundation are frequently asked to participate in technical reviews of applications that we receive for funding.”