It wasn’t just Israel’s left-wing parties that lost big as part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dramatic victory yesterday. Team Obama, which pulled as many strings as it could to defeat Netanyahu, was embarrassed.
It had dispatched Jeremy Bird, the architect of the grass-roots and online organizing efforts behind both of Obama’s presidential campaign, to Israel to work the same magic there with a group called Victory 15.
Victory 15 was in turn a close ally of the One Voice Movement — a U.S. tax-exempt organization with a subsidiary in Israel that actively worked against Netanyahu. One Voice apparently used $350,000 in State Department grants to to fund its anti-Netanyahu efforts in direct contravention with U.S. law.
Expect a congressional investigation of the “dark money” the U.S. government may have indirectly spent in Israel.
Reps. Mike Bost and Randy Hultgren, two GOP House members from Illinois, have joined 18 of their colleagues in sending a letter calling on Bird and other Obama operatives to give a full accounting of their activities: “As Members of Congress, we are greatly concerned to hear allegations of our own State Department spending American tax dollars that were then used to influence foreign elections.
"Israeli elections should be left to the citizens of Israel and not the influence of U.S. taxpayer-funded grants which may be considered illegal . . . We implore that One Voice provide the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Chairman Rob Portman and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill a full accounting of their funding of Victory 15 and their political campaigning which appears to have as its objective to impact the outcome of the Israeli elections," the statement went on to say.
"Promotional and website information, including their slogan, 'replace the government,' provide clear indication of election organizing, beyond the legal status of a not-for-profit organization.”
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Team Obama to respond. They’ve no doubt recently taken lessons from Hillary Clinton’s operation on how to respond to document requests.
John Fund is an expert on American politics where politics and economics and legal issues meet. He previously served as a columnist and editorial board member for The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including "Who's Counting: Bow Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote At Risk," "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy,” and "The Dangers of Regulation Through Litigation." He worked as a research analyst for the California Legislature in Sacramento before beginning his journalism career as a reporter for the syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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