The records show the money was used to fund left-wing political activities in Albania, including working with the country’s socialist government to help push for highly controversial judicial “reform.”
The records also detail how George Soros’ operation helped the State Department review grant applications from other groups for taxpayer funding.
According to a Judicial Watch report: The records were obtained in a May 26, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) after both the State Department and USAID failed to respond to March 31, 2017, FOIA requests (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (No. 1:17-cv-01012)). Judicial Watch agreed to dismiss the lawsuit after it received the documents and payment of attorneys’ fees.
The new documents Judicial Watch received show USAID funds had been funneled through that agency’s Civil Society Project to back billionaire George Soros’s left-wing Open Society Foundations in Albania, mainly George Soros’ plans to give the socialist government greater control of the judiciary.
According to a report, USAID gave $9 million in 2016 to the “Justice for All” campaign, which is overseen by George Soros’s “East-West Management Institute.”
A group of six U.S. Senators in March 2017, led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) sent a letter to Rex Tillerson requesting he investigate charges that the U.S. government was using taxpayer funds to assist George Soros in Albania.
The letter said, “Foundation Open society-Albania and its experts, with funding from USAID, have created the controversial Strategy Document for Albanian Judicial Reform. Some leaders believe that these ‘reforms’ are ultimately aimed to give the Prime Minister and left-of-center government full control over the judiciary.” opposition leaders in the Albanian parliament have labeled the Strategy “a Soros-sponsored reform.”
The new records include an April 2016 memo from the U.S. Embassy in Tirana revealing that the embassy “sponsored” a survey along with George Soros’s Open Society Foundation to measure Albanian citizens’ “knowledge, support, and expectations on justice reform.”
The Soros group survey’s report found that “91% of respondents either ‘fully support’ or ‘somewhat support’ the need for judicial reform.”
However, the poll didn’t specify the type of reform George Soros’ group was seeking.
Furthermore, records dated February 2017 also show that the State Department used taxpayer funds to co-sponsor a second poll with Soros’ Open Society Foundation on judicial reforms that would essentially solidify the left’s control of the Albanian government.
The report says the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section and the Open Society Foundation “each provided funding to a local organization to conduct a public opinion poll on attitudes towards the Judicial Reform effort.”
Also revealed in the records, the State Department gave George Soros’ organization direct input for its own program funding reviews in Albania. The report from February 10, 2017, on “Engagement with the Open Society Foundation for Albania” states that “As one of the major assistance providers in Albania, representatives from the Open Society Foundation are frequently asked to participate in technical reviews of application [sic] that we receive for funding.”
The U.S. Ambassador to Albania Donald Lu, a holdover from the Obama administration, has been closely linked to Soros and the socialist government in Albania. In May 2017, Lu helped undermine Albanian opposition party plans to protest the upcoming parliamentary election by declaring that the U.S. would recognize the election results even if opposition parties refused to participate. Lu has been described in the U.S. press as “a driving force behind Albania’s judicial reforms.”
“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. It is particularly outrageous that the State Department allowed the Soros operation to help direct taxpayer funds to other groups,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “George Soros is a billionaire and he shouldn’t be receiving taxpayer support to advance his radical left agenda to undermine freedom here at home and abroad.”