Obama admin. sent taxpayer money to campaign to oust Netanyahu
By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 12, 2016 The State Department paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers grants to an Israeli group that used the money to build a campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last yearís Israeli parliamentary elections, a congressional investigation concluded Tuesday. Some $350,000 was sent to OneVoice, ostensibly to support the groupís efforts to back Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement negotiations. But OneVoice used the money to build a voter database, train activists and hire a political consulting firm with ties to President Obamaís campaign ó all of which set the stage for an anti-Netanyahu campaign, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a bipartisan staff report. In one stunning finding, the subcommittee said OneVoice even told the State Departmentís top diplomat in Jerusalem of its plans in an email, but the official, Consul General Michael Ratney, claims never to have seen them. He said he regularly deleted emails with large attachments ó a striking violation of open-records laws for a department already reeling from former Secretary Hillary Clintonís handling of official government records. Mr. Netanyahu survived the election, and the U.S. spending was not deemed illegal because the State Department never put any conditions on the money. Investigators also said OneVoice didnít turn explicitly political until days after the grant period ended.