The Trump administration gave $6.3 million to a group linked to liberal mega-donor George Soros as part of an effort to to develop “independent, professional media” in Moldova, The Daily Caller has learned.
The Agency for International Development (USAID) doles out millions of dollars to groups around the world, and frequently this money ends up in the hands of organizations supported by Soros. The Daily Caller has previously reported that USAID during the Obama administration gave at least $15.8 million in Macedonia to groups ran by Soros and to organizations tied to his Open Society Foundations.
This led to inquiries from several Republican congressmen and senators. Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee urged President Trump at an April event to stop this practice of supporting “political activism that undermines legitimate governments and long-held cultural norms” with “leftist policies and leftist politicians.”
However, just weeks before Lee gave the speech, USAID gave Internews Moldova a grant for $6,349,728 over five years, a USAID spokeswoman told TheDC Thursday. This grant was given out as part of a funding opportunity announced in the later months of the Obama administration entitled: “Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova.”
This grant “aims to promote the development of an independent, professional media that gives citizens access to a variety of perspectives, and to create a media sector that is more resilient to political and financial pressures.”
This description of this funding opportunity is similar to the grants given by USAID in Macedonia. The report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in January about Russian election interference focused heavily on state-funded media, which is exactly what USAID is doing here.
The media group in particular that USAID is supporting in Moldova, Internews, lists Open Society Foundations as a donor, and is working in Moldova with the Independent Journalism Center, which includes the Soros Foundation-Moldova as a donor.
Internews was founded in 1985 in California. A 1995 Wired Magazine story said the group “funds for-profit TV enterprises half a world away, thanks to multimillion-dollar contracts from the Agency for International Development, effectively the US government’s foreign aid bank. Along with this generous funding comes grants from more than a dozen foundations, including one handsomely endowed by financier-philanthropist George Soros.”
President Trump’s nominee for administrator of USAID has yet to be confirmed by the Senate, and the president has not nominated individuals for several other key positions including assistant administrator for Europe and Eurasia. This grant isn’t the only one in recent months that runs counter to the Trump agenda.
A grant announced by the U.S. embassy in Belgium on May 12 designated $200,000 for a group to promote positive narratives about refugees in Europe.