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European Union Exports Left-Wing Propaganda to America?

At Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government today, Publius quotes from the UK’s Daily Mail, which reports the European Union “is pouring nearly £20million a year from its human rights budget on lecturing the Americans on left-wing causes.” The Daily Mail continues:

“The EU Human Rights Fund is intended to help promote Western values in the developing world. But a shock report has found at least £17million of cash – around £2million from British taxpayers’ – has been ploughed into promoting the pet causes of Eurocrats in the U.S.

“It is being spent on promoting abolition of the death penalty, discussion of climate change, green energy, and the International Criminal Court – all controversial subjects in the U.S.”

The Daily Mail bases its story on a report by senior policy analyst Sally McNamara of the Heritage Foundation (Special Report 92, May 16, 2011), which they described as a “center-right think tank.” The special report’s introduction describes the issue this way:

“From 2007 through 2009, the European Union spent $1.23 billion in the United States. A large part of this money funded projects in other foreign nations that were administered by the U.S.-based World Bank and United Nations. However, according to the European Union’s financial records posted online, large amounts of European taxpayer money were spent directly inside the United States and served to give the European Union greater influence, and advance the EU’s favored political causes, in America. Some of America’s wealthiest academic institutions have received millions of dollars in research grants and other contracts to promote a positive view of European integration. U.S. non-governmental groups received large sums of money from the EU’s human rights budget to advance a social agenda that many Americans would consider radical. A number of multimillion-dollar confidential payments were also made inside the U.S. to unidentified “natural persons” (individuals, not corporations) from an array of EU budget lines, including the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

“The United States and most European countries have much in common politically and culturally, and EU public diplomacy expenditures inside the U.S. should be minimal compared to spending in countries that do not share the core Euro–Atlantic values of democratic governance, the rule of law, and human rights.

“How any foreign entity is spending money inside the U.S. should be of concern to Americans and their elected representatives on Capitol Hill. Congress has a duty to ensure that U.S. laws, sovereignty, and interests are not being undermined from within. Congressional oversight is needed to identify exactly how and where the EU is intervening inside the U.S.

“Governments of EU member states and European parliamentarians should also thoroughly investigate EU spending in the United States and determine its appropriateness. The EU’s spending inside the U.S. comes after the EU Court of Auditors refused to sign off on the accounts of the European Union for the 16th consecutive year.

“The EU budget was increased by 2.9 percent in 2011, during a time of severe austerity cuts in many EU countries, including cuts to education budgets. The European Commission has requested a budget increase of 4.9 percent for 2012. Governments and parliamentarians should ensure that the European Commission’s existing expenditures are both necessary and prudent before contemplating any increases for 2012."

Several examples of EU spending that Heritage says “merits scrutiny by Congress” include the following:

  • Promoting the International Criminal Court (ICC): €970,783 ($1.41 Million).
  • Funding Anti-Death-Penalty Groups in the U.S.: €2.1 Million ($3.1 Million).
  • Promoting the EU’s Views on Climate Change: Total Expenditures Unknown.
  • Promoting Alternative Energy Projects in the United States: €300,868 ($437,522).
  • Other Grants to U.S. Non-Profit Organizations: €769,066 ($1.12 Million), especially U.S. think tanks.

Heritage concludes the special study by saying:

“The scale of EU money pouring into the United States is enormous. It is important that Congress ascertain whether these expenditures are in compliance with U.S. laws, and to ensure that American interests are protected. Congressional leaders should demand answers from Brussels about its secret multimillion-dollar payments to “natural persons” inside the United States. Members of Congress should raise important questions over Brussels’ interference in U.S. political and social debates, such as climate change, the death penalty, and the International Criminal Court. It is impossible to justify EU human rights budgets being spent in one of the world’s freest nations.

“The EU budget has become synonymous with profligacy, waste, fraud, and mismanagement. It is beyond time for EU member state governments and European parliamentarians to take action.

“The EU’s lavish expenditures in the United States comport badly with the sacrifices that millions of ordinary Europeans are being asked to make. EU member states who are making deep cuts to their education budgets will further question the vast grants that are being contracted to many of America’s wealthiest academic institutions on a regular basis. Member states and European parliamentarians should lay out the appropriate role for the EU, and determine where it is simply over-reaching its competencies to absurd degrees.

Thank you, Heritage Foundation, for this extremely informative 25-page report, Take a few minutes to read it in its entirety. It’s bad enough to be lectured by America’s Left, but much worse to know it’s being paid for by the European Union.

Arlington County taxpayers concerned about the issues raised in the Heritage Foundation report should contact their Capitol Hill eminences. Better yet, write to them at the links below:

  • Senator Jim Webb (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024.
  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -  write to him or call (202) 224-2023.
  • Representative Jim Moran (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376.

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