ATR Calls for End to Taxpayer Funding of Soros-led Organizations in Macedonia

Americans for Tax Reform, one of the leading conservative organizations in Washington, joined in the calls to investigate the work of the US Embassy and USAID Mission in Macedonia, saying that if allegations of partisanship are true, "not a penny should be used to interfere in Balkan domestic politics".

ATR, an organization led by anti­tax crusader Grover Norquist, issued a press release on the push by members of Congress to investigate the work of the Embassy which was addressed to the new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"If these allegations are true, USAID is funneling money to Soros­backed organizations that work to foment political unrest in Macedonia and other Balkan states. This wasteful and destructive pattern of spending on the part of USAID undermines international conventions on diplomatic relations and state sovereignty ­ all at the expense of the taxpayer. There is no justifiable reason why American citizens and businesses should be bankrolling Macedonian political activists. The budget request for the State Department and USAID jointly totals USD 50.1 billion for FY2017; not a penny of that should be used to interfere in Balkan domestic politics", ATR wrоте.

Seven members of the House called for an investigation of grants awarded to George Soros related groups in Macedonia, while six members of the Senate called on Tillerson to perform a review. The funds were given to groups in Macedonia under various pretences, but it is suspected that they were used to support left wing parties and promote left wing policies, and eventually street protests.

"The organization in question is the Foundation Open Society Macedonia (FOSM), an offshoot of George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. In Macedonia, the VMRO­DPMNE party (one of Macedonia’s two major political parties), has accused FOSM of inciting violent protests in which 50 police officers were injured Since 2012, USAID has awarded multiple grants totaling USD 5 million to FOSM, and has granted aid to as many as 61 FOSM affiliates. In 2015, USAID named FOSM as one of their top partners in the region, and recently earmarked USD 9.5 million to be spent by FOSM and its partner organizations", ATR warned.

Its press release comes at a time when President Donald Trump has proposed a budget that includes significant cuts specifically aimed at the State Department and foreign aid programs such as USAID.

The influential Washington based organization best known for its pledge to protect taxpayers which is signed by nearly all elected Republicans, warns that the Obama administration directed State Department and USAID funding in other countries in the region toward Soros led groups.

"Macedonia is not the only Balkan state in which American taxpayers are funding one of Soros’s organizations. Foundation Open Society Albania (FOSA) also received funds from USAID during the Obama administration, and these funds, too, may have gone to serve a political purpose. In their letter, the senators suggest that FOSA used taxpayer dollars to enact legal reforms that “aimed to give the Albanian Prime Minister and left-­of-­center government full control over judiciary power", ATR concluded.


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