US Embassy in Macedonia appeared to cross another political line as its chief political and economic counselor David Stephenson tweeted out an article by Politico which attacked high profile members of the House of Representatives and the Senate who were asking probing questions over the Embassy handling of its soft power grants. Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) lead groups of fellow Republican members of Congress in calling out Ambassador to Macedonia Jess Baily over his subcontracting of nearly all democracy and governance grants to the far left Soros foundation in Macedonia (FOSM). After Baily’s response was deemed unsatisfactory, six senators called on State Secretary Rex Tillerson to examine the matter and audit the work of the Embassy, which provided tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars to the far left group which openly coordinates its activities with Macedonians former Communist SDSM opposition party. Since 2015 SDSM took this open expression of political support from the US Embassy and the Obama administration and used it to whip up a major political crisis in Macedonia which threatens the fragile inter-ethnic balance in the entire Balkans region and might destabilizes the one country keeping the Balkan migrant route closed.
In their defense, Embassy officials turned to a friendly news outlet, Politico, which favorably quotes Ambassador Baily and USAID Macedonia director Jim Stein, while at the same time questions the motives of the members of Congress who deigned to ask questions about how diplomats spent public funds and were giving tens of millions of dollars away to a left wing billionaire with an overtly partisan agenda. The Politico article is co-written by Kenneth Vogel, who used to work for a Soros funded outfit and was also named in the DNC email scandal, which showed him helpfully sending a copy of a Politico article he was writing on Hillary Clinton to her campaign so they can preview it and prepare a response.
The team of Politico reporters are curiously uninterested in the way US State Department and USAID funds were spent in Macedonia but instead question the motives of those demanding accountability, and quickly come to an unsubstantiated conclusion that it must have something to do with… Russia. Even the graphic of the article shows Lee and Smith gazing at Soros, with the title – “GOP takes up Russia – aligned attack on Soros”.
Eager to defend his boss, Stephenson posted the article on his twitter timeline. Instead of answering more honestly and fully the questions sent by the members of the legislative branch, which has oversight powers over the State Department, this high level official of the US Embassy in Skopje tweets out an article that is questioning the motives of the elected representatives.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Baily continues his campaign to push for the creation of an SDSM led Government, with a public statement favoring this outcome to the political crisis, even though the State Department is in a transition and is currently without key officials who could make a decision on whether the US should continue to actively promote the Obama era pro-SDSM policies, or whether a new, neutral approach is called for. One of the questions which Baily failed to answer to the members of Congress is precisely whether he favored SDSM in the political talks between Macedonian parties where he was involved, and whether he intervened to postpone elections which SDSM was certain to lose. Faced with the lack of credible American sources who would support Baily and his work in Macedonia, Stephenson has also taken to tweeting comments from Socialist politicians from the European Parliament who also naturally support their political brethren in Macedonia. Meanwhile, several media outlets published pictures of Stephenson and his opposite number in the European Union mission Lukas Holub holding late night meetings with officials from SDSM and an ethnic Albanian party DUI, which were seen as proof that the diplomatic corps in Macedonia continues to work to promote a coalition of these parties and interferes in Macedonian political affairs, even after President Ivanov rejected the basis of their SDSM – DUI coalition as unconstitutional and tens and even hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets for over a month to protest the possible coalition.