(CNSNews.com) -- Documents obtained by Judicial Watch from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) show that, under the Obama administration, the agency gave $9 million to the "Justice for All"campaign, which is overseen by left-wing billionaire George Soros' "East-West Management Institute."
The money was used "to fund left-wing political activities in Albania, including working with the country's Socialist government to push for highly controversial judicial 'reform,'" said Judicial Watch in a statement. "The records also detail how the Soros operation helped the State Department review grant applications from other groups for taxpayer funding."
“The Obama administration quietly spent at least $9 million in U.S. taxpayers’ dollars in direct collusion with left-wing billionaire George Soros’ backing of a socialist government in Albania," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
"It is particularly outrageous that the State Department allowed the Soros operation to help direct taxpayer funds to other groups," said Fitton. "George Soros is a billionaire and he shouldn’t be receiving taxpayer support to advance his radical left agenda to undermine freedom here at home and abroad.”
Judicial Watch obtained the 32 pages of USAID information after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department and USAID because both entities did not respond to a standard FOIA request for the information.
The records show that USAID funneled money through its Civil Society Project in 2016 to help support Soros' Open Society Foundations in Albania, said Judicial Watch. The Soros operations in Albania included the "Justice for All" campaign and the "East-West Management Institute."
In 2017, some U.S. senators, led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), questioned then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the USAID-backed Soros operations in Albania. In a letter to Tillerson, cited by Judicial Watch. the senators noted that some Albanian leaders believe the "judcial reform" being supported was "ultimately aimed to give the Prime Minister and left-of-center government full control over the judiciary."
Opposition leaders in the Albanian parliament reportedly described the plan as "a Soros-sponsored reform."
One of the documents, an April 2016 memo from the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, "reveals that the embassy 'sponsored' a survey along with Soros' Open Society Foundation to measure Albanian citizens' 'knowledge, support, and expectations on justice reform,'" said Judicial Watch.
Another document from February 2017, only a couple weeks after Donald Trump's inauguration, "show that the State Department used taxpayer funds to co-sponsor a second poll with the Open Society Foundation on judicial reforms that would essentially solidify the left's control of the Albanian government," said Judicial Watch. "The report notes that the U.S. Embassy's Public Affairs Section and the Open Society Foundation 'each provided funding to a local organization to conduct a public opinion poll on attitudes towards the Judicial Reform effort.'"
The State Department also relied on Open Society Foundation officials to participate in reviewing applications for aid submitted to the State Department, reported Judicial Watch.
The U.S. ambassador to Albania is Donald Lu, appointed by President Obama in 2013. Lu has well-documented ties to George Soros, as the Washington Times has reported. In May 2017, according to Judicial Watch, "Lu helped undermine Albanian opposition party plans to protest the upcoming parliamentary election by declaring that the U.S. would recognize the election results even if opposition parties refused to participate."
In February 2017, a Washington Times commentary stated, "U.S. Ambassador Donald Lu, working with the Soros-backed party in power, canceled U.S. visas for approximately 70 members of the opposition Democratic Party, who were up for vetting to be named as judicial officials in the country. This blatantly partisan and undemocratic action threw the country into a political crisis."
Describing Lu's actions, the Albanian General Prosecution said, "This pressure of the U.S. ambassador to Tirana is Soros-like pressure, aiming at manipulating public opinion and depreciating institutions," the Independent Balkan News Agency reported.