Judicial Watch Sues State Department and USAID for Records about Funding of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation – Albania
MAY 31, 2017
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for records relating to their funding of the political activities of the Soros Open Society Foundation – Albania (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (No. 1:17-cv-01012)). The lawsuit was filed on May 26, 2017.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after both State and USAID failed to respond to identical March 31, 2017, FOIA requests seeking:
- All records relating to any contracts, grants or other allocations/disbursements of funds by the State Department (USAID) to the Foundation Open Society-Albania (FOSA) and/or its personnel and/or any FOSA subsidiaries. Such records shall include, but is not be limited to proposals, contracts, requests for funding, payment authorizations, invoices, and similar budget records, as well as any and all related records of communication between State Department officials, employees, or representatives and officials, employees, or representative of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
- All records of communication between any officials, employees or representatives of the State Department (USAID), including but not limited to U.S. Ambassador Donald Lu, and any officials, employees or representatives of Foundation Open Society-Albania, its subsidiaries and/or affiliated organizations.
- All assessments, evaluations, reports or similar records relating to the work of Foundation Open Society-Albania and/or its subsidiaries or affiliated organizations.
- All records of communications transmitted via the State Department’s SMART system sent to or from any employee of the U.S. Government operating under the authority of the Chief of Mission in Tirana that pertain to Foundation Open Society-Albania, its subsidiaries and/or affiliated organizations.
In a March 14, 2017, letter to Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, six U.S. Senators (Sens. Lee (R-UT), Inhofe (R-OK), Tillis (R-NC), Cruz (R-TX), Perdue (R-GA) and Cassidy (R-LA)) called on the secretary to investigate the relations between USAID and the Soros Foundations and how U.S. tax dollars are being used by the State Department and the USAID to support left-of-center political groups who seek to impose left-leaning policies in countries such as Macedonia and Albania.
In the letter, the senators reference USAID funding of Soros activities in Macedonia and then cite similar activities in Albania:
Much of the concerning activity in Macedonia has been perpetuated through USAID funds awarded to implement in entities such as George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. As the recipient of multiple grant awards and serving as a USAID contractor implementing projects in this small nation of 2.1 million people, our taxpayer funded foreign aid goes far, allowing Foundation Open Society-Macedonia (FOSM) to push a progressive agenda and invigorate the political left…
This problem is not limited to Macedonia, but appears to follow a pattern of alarming activity in this volatile region. Respected leaders from Albania have made similar claims of US diplomats and Soros-backed organizations pushing for certain political outcomes in their country. Foundation Open Society-Albania (FOSA) 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 judiciary power.
Soros’ association with the State Department in Albania goes back at least to 2011 when Soros urged Hillary Clinton to take action in Albania over recent demonstrations in the capital of Tirana. Fox News reported on August 17, 2016 that:
Newly leaked emails and other files from billionaire George Soros’ web of organizations are shedding light on the liberal powerbroker’s extensive influence in political and diplomatic affairs.
One email chain shows the Wall Street titan in 2011 personally wrote then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging intervention in Albania’s political unrest. Within days, an envoy he recommended was dispatched to the region.
In May 2016, USAID announced that it was providing $9 million for it “Justice for All” project in Albania “to improve the performance of Albanian courts by introducing comprehensive judicial standards for efficiency, transparency, accessibility, and accountability.” According to the announcement, the project “will be implemented by USAID Contractor East-West Management Institute” (EWMI). According to EWMI’s 2011 financial report, it has received funding from the Soros Economic Development Fund: “loans … of up to $1,000,000.”
“This is our second FOIA lawsuit to uncover the truth about the scandal of Obama administration’s siphoning tax dollars to the Soros operations in Europe,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We hope and expect the Trump administration to finally let the sunlight in on this growing controversy.”
On April 19, 2017, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for records and communications relating to the funding and political activities of the Foundation Open Society-Macedonia ((Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (No. 1:17-cv-00729)).
In February, Judicial Watch reported:
The U.S. government has quietly spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with leftwing billionaire philanthropist George Soros, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. Barack Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess L. Baily, has worked behind the scenes with Soros’ Open Society Foundation to funnel large sums of American dollars for the cause, constituting an interference of the U.S. Ambassador in domestic political affairs in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Here’s how the clandestine operation functions, according to high-level sources in Macedonia and the U.S. that have provided Judicial Watch with records as part of an ongoing investigation. The Open Society Foundation has established and funded dozens of leftwing, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Macedonia to overthrow the conservative government. One Macedonian government official interviewed by Judicial Watch in Washington D.C. recently, calls it the “Soros infantry.” The groups organize youth movements, create influential media outlets and organize violent protests to undermine the institutions and policies implemented by the government. One of the Soros’ groups funded the translation and publication of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” into Macedonian. The book is a tactical manual of subversion, provides direct advice for radical street protests and proclaims Lucifer to be the first radical. Thanks to Obama’s ambassador, who has not been replaced by President Trump, Uncle Sam keeps the money flowing so the groups can continue operating and recruiting, sources in Macedonia and the U.S. confirm.