Seven US members of the House of Representatives, who recently called out Ambassador to Macedonia Jess Baily and the local USAID mission for partisanship and for funding the George Soros led groups in Macedonia, say they are dissatisfied with the response they received and are launching an investigation. A letter addressed to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro on February 24th instructs the Government Accountability Office to initiate an investigation in the Mission in Macedonia and USAID Macedonia and deliver a progress report in a month. Breitbart.com broke the story on the letter.
“Unfortunately, we have heard credible reports that, over the past two years, the US Mission to Macedonia has actively intervened in the party politics of Macedonia, as well as in the shaping of its media environment and civil society, in an improperly partisan manner, one that, directly or indirectly, has influenced the outcome of elections in Macedonia. According to reports, this intervention consistently favors the parties, media and civil society groups of the left and center left. We have heard reports that the actions of the US Mission to Macedonia strongly favored such parties in the run-up to the parliamentary elections”, the members of Congress say. The letter is signed by representatives Christopher Smith, Randy Hultgren, Robert Aderholt, Louie Gohmert, Robert Pittenger, Jeff Fortenberry and Trent Franks. Senator Mike Lee has separately raised similar issues.
The letter notes that an earlier request, addressed to Ambassador Baily, was responded to after the required deadline, and was “vague and failed to answer the questions we posed”. This has prompted the call for a GAO investigation, and the members of Congress have announced other investigative measures, as well as calling on Ambassador Baily to resign.
“In order to have the benefit of an independent investigation and audit, and due to the importance of the underlying issue, we turn to your office”, the letter notes, before asking for information about how much US Government funding, from all sources, was given to Open Society Foundations and other institutions related to the Soros network, since 2012. A breakdown is required for all recipients of US funding that also receive more than 10 percent of their funding from the Soros led OSI network.
“For Macedonia, please explain the legal arrangements for each and every current or ongoing grant, contract and other allocation and/or disbursement to Foundation Open Society Macedonia, including the means and terms by which they may be terminated. For Macedonia, has the US Government conducted any research, studies or polling that would measure or index the effect its funding and support for FOSM has on the reputation, image, and public opinion of the United States as seen in MAcedonia. What percentage of US aid money in the fields of democracy, civil society and media is funded through FOSM? Was any organization, entity, group or any individual participant in any organization, entity or group that receives US funds directly or indirectly, through FOSM or otherwise, reported to have been involved in violence, either against persons or property destruction, and have any police or security officers been wounded in connection to that violence”, are some of the questions that the GAO will investigate on behalf of the seven Congressmen.
Regarding the activities of Ambassador Baily, GAO is asked to provide a report on standards applicable to spending US Government funding in a foreign democratic country, on media and civil society, as well as standards on involvement of US Government officials in domestic partisan politics. GAO will investigate possible violations of the Vienna convention, other international conventions, US standards and laws and will examine his “diplomatic participation in elections”. “It is particularly relevant to know how the position represented by the US Mission to Macedonia corresponded or not to those of the Macedonian political parties”, the GAO is asked.
On top of examining funding of the Soros – Macedonia organization by the US Government, GAO will also look into funding of media outlets and whether the US was supporting overwhelmingly left leaning outlets, and has pushed for media regulation that is not in line with American freedom of speech standards. The Foundation Open Society Macedonia, but also other NGO groups that have received funding through various American financial lines will be examined over whether they have taken sides in the election or the formation of the new Government.