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Tags: biden administration | state department | conservative | blacklist | grant | darrell issa

State Dept. Defends Grant to Conservative Blacklister

By    |   Wednesday, 31 May 2023 09:10 AM EDT

The Biden administration defended its grant to a group that has blacklisted conservative media outlets, the Washington Examiner reported.

The State Department on Friday responded to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who in March demanded an investigation into the department's Global Engagement Center (GEC) for awarding a $100,000 grant in 2021 to the Global Disinformation Index (GDI).

The letter said the State Department has no regrets over the taxpayer-backed award to GDI, which has given conservative website blacklists to advertisers to defund disfavored speech. It also made no mention of any ongoing grant review.

"It is disappointing but not surprising that the Biden State Department hasn't come close to offering a suitable explanation or corrective action for its role in the censorship of individual Americans and established conservative media," Issa told the Washington Examiner. "Make no mistake: Congress isn't done holding State accountable."

In March, Issa, who sits on the Judiciary and House Foreign Affairs committees, wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and said that "censoring free speech must stop."

Issa pressured GEC over its grant to the GDI, which also received nearly $860,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) between 2020 to 2022.

NED is a government-funded nonprofit group that, in mid-February, announced it no longer would fund GDI.

Issa called on the State Department to "undertake a prompt and comprehensive inquiry into any grants, authorities, and policies" that may have been unlawfully "used to curtail the free expression of conservative and/or domestic media, and to take corrective measures as warranted by the results of such investigation," the Examiner reported.

In Friday's letter, written by Bureau of Legislative Affairs Assistant Secretary Naz Durakoglu, it was alleged that "some media outlets have reported that State Department funding may have been used to fund GDI's work in the United States" and called that "inaccurate."

The letter admitted that Issa "raises several important points concerning free speech and the principles of democracy, both of which are fundamental to the Department's representation of U.S. foreign policy and promotion of American ideals abroad," the Examiner reported.

The Examiner first reported in February 2022 that the GDI was awarded $100,000 through the government's U.S.-Paris Tech Challenge, which sought to "advance the development of promising and innovative technologies against disinformation and propaganda across the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom," according to the Atlantic Council, a think tank that partnered for the challenge.

Durakoglu's letter comes as Congress considers whether in 2024 it will reauthorize the GEC.

"The Global Engagement Center is making no case for its survival, and the State Department is making a strong case it should be canceled altogether," a source close to the House Foreign Affairs Committee told the Examiner. "Because it cannot be trusted to act in the nation's interest."

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The Biden administration defended its grant to a group that has blacklisted conservative media outlets, the Washington Examiner reported.
biden administration, state department, conservative, blacklist, grant, darrell issa
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2023-10-31
Wednesday, 31 May 2023 09:10 AM
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