Last weekend we looked at a story involving the Prime Minister of Hungary and his complaints about certain foreign non-government organizations interfering with the operation of his government. Viktor Orban has become incensed with liberal billionaire George Soros and what he perceives as his meddling in local affairs. But as it turns out, Hungary isn’t the only nation where Soros has been stirring the pot. Some members of Congress have been receiving complaints and they had already begun looking into what the liberal icon has been up to in Macedonia. (Fox News)
George Soros’ alleged meddling in European politics has caught the attention of Congress.
Concerns about Soros’ involvement most recently were raised by the Hungarian prime minister, who last week lashed out at the Soros “empire” and accused it of deplying “tons of money and international heavy artillery.”
But days earlier, Republican lawmakers in Washington started asking questions about whether U.S. tax dollars also were being used to fund Soros projects in the small, conservative-led country of Macedonia.
Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., led a group of House lawmakers in writing to Ambassador Jess Baily — an Obama appointee — demanding answers. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, also expressed concerns about USAID money going to Soros’ Open Society Foundations as part of a broader concern that the U.S. Embassy has been taking sides in party politics.
The complaints coming out of that mountainous Balkan nation sounds similar to what we were hearing from Hungary. Soros organizations were doing far more than charity work, actively engaging in party politics and attempting to push the largely conservative government there further to the left. That sort of rabble rousing isn’t going over very well.
Normally there wouldn’t be too much for the United States government to say about this providing no local laws were being broken. But in the case of Soros there is a twist to the tale which justifiably draws the scrutiny of Congress. The reason is that while Soros is free to do what he likes with his own considerable wealth, it turns out that there are tax dollars involved here. His group, Open Society Foundations, receives funding from USAID and that brings the government into the picture. If he’s going to be accepting tax money from Uncle Sam and then turning around and applying those funds to political interference in the business of other nations then we have a problem.
For their part the Macedonians seem to be fairly upset about it.
Former Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski says Soros has a “decisive influence” on his country’s politics.
“If it were not for George Soros behind it with all the millions he pours into Macedonia, the entire network of NGOs, media, politicians, inside and out … the economy would be stronger, we would have had more new jobs,” he said in a recent interview with Macedonia’s Republika newspaper.
Yet again we see the parallel to the situation in Hungary. The use of NGOs, radio and television productions and political lobbying are far afield from what you would normally think of as charitable works. The quote from Macedonia’s former Prime Minister actually blames Soros for weakening the local economy. That might be hard to document in a court of law, but the considerations of their own government officials clearly have to be taken into account.
It comes as something of a relief to know that Congress retains the temerity to ask such questions of a wealthy and influential figure like George Soros. Now all we need is to have them figure out a way to make similar inquiries about his interference here at home.