National Public Radio’s firing of Juan Williams and its acceptance of a $1.8 million gift from left-wing billionaire George Soros’ foundation have put the spotlight on the NPR’s taxpayer subsidy. What is less well known is that Soros’ private foundations also receive millions in taxpayer funds.
Not only that, but the projects that taxpayers fund through Soros’ foundations appear to violate a federal prohibition on the use of taxpayer funds to promote drug use and prostitution. Our efforts to expose this misuse of tax money in 2007 were met with hostility by the State Department and disinterest in Congress.
In October 2007, NLPC asked the Inspector General of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to investigate the possibility that the agency was violating federal law. Our request came in the wake of the publication of our Special Report titled Soros Groups Receive Taxpayer Funds: State Department Collaborates in Skirting of U.S. Law Against Promoting Drug Use and Prostitution. Click here or on the image to download a 12-page pdf version.
NLPC’s obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) showing that between 2001 and 2007 USAID awarded grants totaling $18.3 million to the Open Society Institute, the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan and the Alliance for Open Society International, all Soros-affiliated groups. In addition, USAID and the US State Department have given millions of dollars to Soros’ nonprofits to operate education programs and other “civil society” initiatives in various nations. From 2001 to 2007 USAID and State Department grants to the Soros nonprofit network totaled at least $25.6 million.
USAID was more than defensive about the grants. It took 21 months for the agency to respond to NLPC’s FOIA requests. USAID only turned over the documents after NLPC retained a lawyer and threatened legal action. Our request for an investigation by the USAID Inspector General was ignored.
In 1989, Congress restricted the use of federal funds for the purchase of needles, syringes, and other materials for the purpose of illegal drug use. Despite this prohibition, USAID has awarded millions of dollars in contracts to Soros-affiliated organizations engaged in needle exchange activities.
Grant documents obtained by NLPC acknowledge Congressional intent but seem to rely on an extremely narrow interpretation of federal law that bans funding “to provide individuals with hypodermic needles.” The documents state that private Soros funds would be used to purchase the needles, while the overhead for the programs would be borne by U.S. taxpayers. This interpretation is particularly clever. Needles cost pennies each. The Soros groups pay the pennies while American taxpayers pay the much more substantial overhead for the programs.
It is not known, nor is it easy to find out, how much taxpayer money has flowed to Soros’ groups since 2007. Because of their close and longstanding relationship with the State Department, it has likely continued.
Soros is a proponent of drug and prostitution legalization. He is free to hold these views, but why is he entitled to a taxpayer subsidy to promote them? It is positively outrageous that taxpayer are forced to fund the political projects of billionaire. The new Congress must investigate and eliminate all funding to Soros’ groups.