George Soros' $30M Welfare Check
By: Jeff Johnson
CNSNews.com | Tuesday, April 26, 2005
The Open Society Institute, a private foundation controlled by liberal billionaire and political activist George Soros, received more than $30 million from U.S. government agencies between 1998 and 2003. Last year, Soros donated at least $20 million of his own money to such liberal groups as Moveon.org, in a failed attempt to block the re-election of President George W. Bush.
Tax records the Open Society Institute (OSI) is required to file with the Internal Revenue Service list "FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES" as "Contributors" of amounts between $4.6 million and $8.9 million over a six year period:
The amounts total $30,454,031. Records from 1999 and 2004 were not immediately available.
- 1998 - $4,611,617
- 2000 - $4,934,678
- 2001 - $5,869,809
- 2002 - $6,138,125
- 2003 - $8,889,802
Cybercast News Service asked OSI to provide a detailed list of its funding from U.S. government agencies, the records from 1999 and 2004 and an explanation of how the money has been spent. The foundation did not reply to multiple requests for the information.
In an online document entitled Building Donor Partnerships, OSI explains how its various subsidiaries, called "national foundations," can get funding and other support from the governments in their home nations:
OSI has apparently applied this strategy in the U.S., as well. The foundation received 1.4 to 4.4 percent of its annual contributions between 1998 and 2003 from American taxpayer funding. Various State Department documents indicate that OSI has been paid to run what the department describes as "democratization programs" in a number of countries.
- Public financing can be used to co-fund, expand or ensure sustainability of programs initiated by the national foundation.
- When a government cannot provide funds, it can allocate land, use of facilities, media time or staff to a donor partnership.
- Governments can waive or reduce taxes and duties for efforts of the Soros foundations.
- Governments can publicize the programs or requests of the national foundation through official channels, often at no charge.
"The Open Society Institute receives funding from the United States," a State Department press statement declared, "and has spent close to $22 million in Uzbekistan in order to help build a vibrant civil society."
Another report explained that "The United States also supports organizations, such as ... the Open Society Institute ... working inside and outside the (Burmese) region on a broad range of democracy promotion activities."
A State Department Fact Sheet also described "an HIV/AIDS prevention program carried out jointly with the Open Society Institute and Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation that targets high-risk populations" in Central Asia. The website of the U.S. Agency for International Development also lists numerous projects conducted in cooperation with OSI.
On the "About Us" page of its website, the Soros-controlled foundation explains that it exists "to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights and economic, legal and social reform."
Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), told Cybercast News Service that any seemingly positive activities Soros-controlled groups engage in should be kept in perspective.
"Congress should keep in mind that this is the same organization that supports numerous hard-left radical activities in the United States and abroad," Boehm said. "The Open Society Institute gave $20,000 to the defense fund for Lynne Stewart, (who was) accused of working with the terrorists who planned the original World Trade Center attack."
Boehm said the numerous left of center political activities supported by OSI include "drug legalization efforts, pro-abortion policies and numerous other controversial causes." OSI tax records show contributions of:
Boehm also criticized taxpayer dollars going to the Soros-controlled entity, because of the overt, partisan political activities Soros supports.
- $4.41 million to the American Civil Liberties Union and its state affiliates,
- $500,000 to the Pro-Choice Education Project to launch a (pro-abortion rights) "public education and media strategy,"
- $100,000 to the Death Penalty Information Center, an organization that works against capital punishment,
- $100,000 to Catholics for a Free Choice, a religious group that advocates for abortion rights,
- $100,000 to the Pennsylvania Coalition to Save Lives Now "to support needle exchange programs,"
- $80,000 over three years to the Gay Straight Alliance Network, to promote "a traveling photo documentary exhibit by lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and questioning youth,"
- $45,000 to the Democracy Matters Institute "to bring the campaign finance reform movement to college campuses,"
- $50,000 to the Coalition for an International Criminal Court "to promote education, awareness and acceptance of the International Criminal Court," and
- $35,000 to the Abortion Access Project.
"George Soros also has been the 'Daddy Warbucks' of numerous left-wing political campaigns in the past year," Boehm said.
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Soros pledged millions of dollars from his own estimated $7 billion personal fortune to the failed efforts to derail President Bush's re-election bid through various tax-exempt political action committees such as MoveOn.org. Boehm described the expenditures as "the height of hypocrisy.
"Soros has bankrolled the groups that have lobbied for limits on political giving and for disclosure," Boehm said. "But he apparently believes that the law should only apply to other people, and not to himself."
Asked about the seemingly contradictory spending, Soros was unapologetic.
"I am not violating either the letter of the law or the spirit," he said before the 2004 election in an interview with Time magazine. "The letter, because the institutions that I'm supporting were there before I started supporting them, the spirit, because campaign-finance regulation has been designed to deny access to special interests, and by supporting these organizations, I gain no access."
On Jan. 18, 2005, NLPC filed a 41-page complaint against Soros with the Federal Election Commission. Boehm said at the time that Soros' multi-city, anti-Bush media tour was "possibly the largest off-the-books independent expenditure ever run."
"It's especially important that the FEC look at it, because it occurred the month before a very close election in key swing states," Boehm said. "Disclosure is the absolute heart of campaign finance law, and Soros' anti-Bush campaign could have potentially shifted the outcome of the presidential election."
Neither that allegation, nor any other formal complaint has accused Soros' Open Society Institute of using taxpayer funding to pay for anti-Bush political activities. Soros continues to deny any wrongdoing.
Regardless, Boehm believes the combination of Soros' left leaning ideology and partisan political involvement should make the federal government reconsider funding any organization he controls.
"It's hard to believe the State Department couldn't find a more credible organization to carry out these projects. There usually is not a shortage of non-governmental institutions seeking taxpayer money," Boehm concluded. "Selecting a group led by someone with such a strong political agenda, and which funds so many controversial ideological activities, is, well, short sighted."
Multiple calls to the State Department and United States Agency for International Development, which have both funded OSI, were not returned.
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