SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee and a group of Republican senators want Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to look into government money being used to support liberal policies in foreign countries.
Lee, R-Utah, and five other senators called on Tillerson in a letter Tuesday to investigate how funds are being used by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to "support left-of-center political groups and impress left-leaning policies on sovereign nations, regardless of their desire for self-determination."
Lee said he has received "disappointing" news about U.S. activity from elected officials and political leaders in foreign countries.
"This includes reports of diplomats playing political favorites, USAID funds supporting extreme and sometimes violent political activists, and the U.S. government working to marginalize the moderates and conservatives in leadership roles,” he said.
"This sort of political favoritism from our missions around the world is unacceptable and endangers our bilateral relationships."
Weighing in so heavily on one side of the political spectrum abroad ostracizes many foreign citizens who have traditionally supported strong relations with the U.S., Lee said.
The letter, which specifically mentions Macedonia and Albania, asks Tillerson to investigate funds associated with promoting democracy and governance, and to review programs, accounts and entities involved in those activities.