by Tom Fitton –
Hungarian-American George Soros became a billionaire from hedge funds he started, and also from short-selling pounds sterling during England’s currency crisis in 1992. That maneuver earned him $1 billion and the appellation, “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England.”
By 2018, he had $8 billion in the bank – even after having given $18 billion to his Open Society Foundations, which support leftist causes in the United States and around the world.
With all of that money, you’d think he wouldn’t need your help, wouldn’t you? Well, your government disagrees. And, in fact, the taxes you pay have been supporting this guy. That’s not totally surprising, as the Obama administration was certainly fond of using your tax dollars to fund leftwing organizations.
Judicial Watch already sued about his activities in Macedonia — and Albania, as well. The former Prime Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski reportedly called for a “de-Sorosization” of society. In February 2017,we reported that the U.S. government has quietly spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia in collusion with Soros.
And now we’re investigating Soros efforts in Romania and Colombia with two new federal lawsuits.
We just filed FOIA lawsuits against both the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for records relating to their funding of the political activities of the Soros Open Society Foundations of Romania (Judicial Watch v. U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (No. 1:18-cv-00667)) and the Soros Open Society Foundations of Colombia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-00668)).
We filed the Romania lawsuit after State and USAID failed to substantively respond to our October 16, 2017, FOIA request seeking, among other records:
• All records relating to any contracts, grants or other allocations/disbursements of funds by the State Department to the Open Society Foundation – Romania and/or its personnel and/or any OSFR subsidiary or affiliate.
• All assessments, evaluations, reports or similar records relating to the work of Open Society Foundation – Romania and/or its subsidiaries or affiliated organizations.
We filed the Colombia suit after State failed to respond to our October 23, 2017, FOIA request seeking among other records:
• All records regarding any contracts, grants or other allocations/disbursements of funds by the State Department to the Open Society Foundation – Colombia and/or any OSF subsidiaries/affiliates, and/or OSF personnel operating in Colombia, as well as the following entities: Fundacion Ideas para la Paz; La Silla Vacia; DeJusticia; Corporacion Nuevo Arco Iris; Paz y Reconciliacion; Global Drug Policy Program; and news portal Las Dos Orillas.
• All records of communication, whether by e-mails, text messages, or instant chats, between any officials, employees or representatives of the State Department in Colombia, including Ambassador Kevin Whitaker and any officials, employees or representatives of the Open Society Foundation, its subsidiaries/affiliates, and/or those entities identified in the first bullet.
As in other parts of the world, a number of Soros-funded entities and projects in Romania are also funded by the United States Government. The Romanian Center for Independent Journalism, which is supported by the Open Society Institute in New York, recently received $17,000 from the State Department.
In February 2017, Laura Silber of Open Society Foundations reportedly condemned “illiberal governments” in the Balkans, such as Macedonia, Albania and Romania, for working against the Soros NGOs (Non-Government Organizations). In Romania, in March 2017, the leader of the governing party reportedly charged that the Soros foundations “that he has funded since 1990 have financed evil.”
Romania’s communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena were executed on Christmas Day, 1989. In the decades since, Soros and his affiliated organizations have exerted tremendous influence over politics in Romania. Numerous Romanian government officials, including former Justice Minister and European Parliament member Monica Macovei, have been closely aligned with Soros and graduated from his Central European University. Former presidential advisor and fellow Romanian member of the European Parliament Renate Weber was previously the chair of the Soros Foundations in Romania.
Soros’ NGOs in Colombia are reportedly receiving millions from USAID:
Verdad Abierta, a web-based portal created by Teresa Ronderos, director of the Open Society Program on Independent Journalism, boasts on its website that it receives support from USAID. Abierta has helped rewrite Colombia’s history, elevating terrorists to the same level as the legitimate police and military forces, and rebranding decades of massacres, kidnappings, child soldiering, and drug trafficking by a criminal syndicate as simply “50 years of armed conflict.”
Fundacion Ideas para la Paz, once led by peace negotiator Sergio Jaramillo, now a member of the oversight “junta,” is funded by the Open Society Foundations and has received more than $200,000 in U.S. tax dollars.
The left-wing news portal La Silla Vacia, another Open Society initiative, also boasts of being a USAID grantee. Its columnist, Rodrigo Uprimny, whose NGO DeJusticia also partners with USAID and Open Society, is considered one of the architects of the peace deal.
Former National Liberation Army terrorist Leon Valencia—Open Society collaborator and grantee—has received at least $1,000,000 in USAID funding through his NGOs Corporacion Nuevo Arco Iris and Paz y Reconciliacion, and left-wing news portal Las Dos Orillas, which he co-founded.
In 2016, Soros’ Open Society Foundations gave more than $3.3 million to organizations operating in Colombia. Several of those organizations have also been financially supported by the United States government, having received more than $5 million from the Department of State, USAID, and the Inter-American Foundation (a federal agency) in recent years. One of the Soros-funded entities, an LGBT advocacy organization, was also selected by the Inter-American Foundation as a partner organization in its Colombia peace project initiative.
We aren’t the only ones curious about all of this. In a March 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.
It is high time for Americans to be allowed to see State Department documentation regarding the public funding of Soros’ Open Society Foundations. This billionaire needs zero assistance from taxpayers to promote his far-left agenda abroad.
Supreme Court to Reject Maryland’s Gerrymandering
The Supreme Court took up the issue of gerrymandering this week – and Judicial Watch once again was in the thick of the debate.
We joined with Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) in an amici curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court seeking to overturn Maryland’s 2011 congressional redistricting plan, which the brief calls “the most extreme and effective congressional gerrymander in the nation” (Benisek, et al. v. Lamone, et al., (No. 17-333)).
The Benisek case is on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland after the lower court ruled for the state in dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this case on March 28.
Critics of the Maryland plan have charged that the new congressional map was designed specifically to minimize the voting power of particular voters. The Washington Post editorialized:
The map … mocks the idea that voting districts should be compact or easily navigable. The eight districts respect neither jurisdictional boundaries nor communities of interest. To protect incumbents and for partisan advantage, the map has been sliced, diced, shuffled and shattered, making districts resemble studies in cubism.
We and AEF argue that the test applied by the lower court in this case was inadequate to determine whether Maryland’s redistricting scheme constitutes an unconstitutional, partisan gerrymander that violates the First Amendment. It further argues that if the lower court ruling is allowed to stand, it “will ensure that every redistricting case will become a federal case.”
In our brief, we argue that courts must be able “to distinguish unconstitutional gerrymandering from ordinary political redistricting,” which will require “manageable and politically neutral standards for detecting gerrymandering.”
Traditional districting principles, such as compactness, contiguity, and respect for established political boundaries have been bedrock considerations under this Court’s redistricting jurisprudence for decades, and there is no reason to discard them in favor of untried standards that rely entirely on what legislators say (or, in future, learn not to say) and on the unpredictable fortunes of political parties. Much less is there any reason to follow currently favored social science theories that disregard decades of practical knowledge and jurisprudence concerning the process of drawing district lines.
Our brief further explains traditional districting principles about the standards adopted by the lower courts in both the Benisek and Gill cases. And it argues that the lower court ruling in this case should be overturned for ignoring them.
We had earlier filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Maryland’s 2011 gerrymandering scheme. In August 2016, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland ruled for the state in dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims. Judicial Watch filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in October 2016. On January 9, 2017, the court dismissed the appeal.
We’re pursuing a similar case in Wisconsin. In August 2017 we and AEF filed an amici brief in the gerrymandering case Beverly R. Gill, et al. v. William Whitford, et al., (No. 16-1161), urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the arbitrary method of drawing Wisconsin’s electoral districts adopted by the lower court, which ignored traditional districting principles. We argued that the lower court ruling relied, in part, on a novel test for gerrymandering found nowhere in the Constitution known as the “the efficiency gap,” which focuses on a purely hypothetical estimate of what each party “should” win in a “fair” election and amounts, in practice, to court-ordered, proportional party representation scheme.
The Supreme Court would be on a very dangerous course if it endorses the lead of the lower courts on gerrymandering. The lower courts in Maryland would tell the Supreme Court to ignore the most abusive gerrymander in the country, while the lower courts in Wisconsin would have the courts overturn district lines if not enough Democrats win.
The Supreme Court should pick a reasonable judicial standard for evaluating gerrymanders to ensure that voters can pick their politicians – not the other way around.
Hillary Clinton, Not Sexism, Defeated Hillary Clinton
The Clintons and their enablers almost always blame others when Bill and Hillary Clinton are caught in legal and ethical misdeeds.
Here are some of my thoughts on the latest iteration of the blame game in a piece I wrote for FoxNews.com:
There’s a new book out by Hillary Clinton’s former communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, suggesting that sexism by American voters – not Clinton’s email scandal – was the key factor responsible for Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Palmieri writes in her book – titled “Dear Madam President” – that Clinton couldn’t get out of the email “box” because American voters couldn’t get past their “unease” about a woman seeking power.
In fact, Palmieri goes on to suggest that the Clinton email issue was both trivial and irrelevant – notwithstanding the fact that a Reuters poll just six weeks before the election showed a significant 46 percent of Americans were “very concerned” about that very issue.
In her book, subtitled “An Open Letter To The Women Who Will Run the World,” Palmieri writes: “One thing our campaign was never able to move beyond was the vexing issue of Hillary’s emails … I think it was the unease people felt about Hillary’s motivation as a woman seeking power that made it impossible for us to very fully put this matter to bed. I have weathered a lot of political crises, but never encountered one quite like this. It was a box we could never get out of.”
Given Clinton’s recent comments that Trump voters were backwards and women voters were manipulated by men, it is no surprise to see a Clinton adviser attacking American voters rather than suggesting that voters fairly evaluated Clinton based upon her conduct.
Clinton’s problem was that many Americans didn’t trust her because she was caught telling untruths – repeatedly – about her email system. She first told us it was simply a matter of convenience to use her unsecure, non-government email system. That wasn’t true.
Clinton next told us there was no classified information on the email system. That wasn’t true.
Then the Democratic presidential candidate told us she turned over all the government emails that she had. That absolutely was not true.
And the kicker was Clinton’s attempted deletion of over half the emails she supposedly took with her when she left the State Department – 33,000 in total.
On top of that, there is the pay-to-play scandal that Judicial Watch uncovered in August of 2016 that raised further legal issues about Clinton’s conduct as secretary of state.
Palmieri’s suggestion that sexism made it impossible for Clinton to explain her way out of the email scandal insults all voters. The real concern – among male and female voters alike – was about putting someone into high office who had such utter contempt for the rule of law.
Recall that Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination back in 2008 thanks in part to his argument that Bill and Hillary Clinton’s record of corruption would be an albatross during the general election.
Just a few months ago, we disclosed the classified emails from the Clinton email server found on the laptop of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s scandal-ridden husband, disgraced former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. It was one more instance of misconduct in a serial violation of national security laws that would have gotten anyone else arrested.
This “trivial and irrelevant” email scandal resulted in a FBI investigation into whether Clinton was in violation of criminal laws concerning the handling of classified information. She escaped prosecution because of the political intervention of the Obama White House, FBI and Justice Department leadership.
Palmieri’s book shows that Clinton wasn’t the only person on her campaign oblivious to the way people perceived her misconduct. While Palmieri does a poor job of explaining the Clinton email scandal, she does a good job of showing how Clinton’s aides enabled her misbehavior.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton