New Congress Must Defund Legal Services Corporation, AARP, and Soros

John Boehner photoIn the previous years, NLPC has demanded an end to taxpayer funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), AARP and George Soros’ private foundations, only to be rebuffed by Democratic and Republican Congresses. The incoming Congress was elected to cut out inappropriate spending. The practice of collecting money from all taxpayers and using it to promote political causes with which many disagree is simply unethical. Incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) must put a stop to it.

Legal Services Corporation- This year, LSC is receiving $420 million in tax dollars. LSC funds 136 local groups to provide civil (not criminal) day-to-day legal help to poor people. Unfortunately, many LSC-funded lawyers instead spend their time on liberal political and social causes.

When Republicans won control of the House in 1994, they passed a three-year phase-out of LSC. They also passed strict rules on how the money could be spent. Drafted with the assistance of NLPC, the restrictions prohibited LSC-funded groups from lobbying, supporting strikes and filing class-action lawsuits. LSC was also banned from representing illegal aliens and prisoners.

The first year’s cut went through. But in subsequent years the money was restored on the House floor with the help of 20 to 25 Republicans. Since that time, NLPC has helped expose and publicize more LSC abuses. Controversy follows this troubled agency. LSC has only recently returned to 1994 funding levels, even with a sympathetic Congress.

LSC must now be completely defunded. The grantees will fight back and (illegally) lobby to keep their subsidy, but Republicans no longer have any excuses to keep funding liberal political and legal activism. In recent years, LSC grantees have raised a greater proportion of their funds from private sources. They should now be freed completely from a taxpayer subsidy.

AARP- In 2007, we documented in a Special Report titled How the Federal Government Subsidizes AARP that taxpayer money accounted for $83 million, or about 10 percent, of AARP’s annual revenue of $878 million. (AARP was formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons.)

We sent a copy of the Report to then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) along with a letter demanding AARP be defunded. The letter was signed by the CEO of almost every major taxpayer and free-market group. Just so Hastert would not miss our point, we released the letter to the Associated Press, which did an article that ran in newspapers all over the country. Hastert’s office did not even give us the courtesy of a reply.

Of course, AARP still gets tax money and is about to get a lot more. It will become a major vendor under ObamaCare. Incoming Speaker John Boehner cannot bemoan overspending by the Obama administration while Congress continues to fund AARP, which is a cheerleader for more spending, and a government takeover of health care.

George Soros- Most people are surprised when they learn that private foundations of billionaire George Soros get tax money. In 2007, we exposed the fact that Soros’ foundations got more than $25 million from the State Department from 2001 to 2007. The money was purportedly used for “anti-AIDS” programs in Central Asia and other programs in Europe.

In 1989, Congress banned the use of federal funds for the purchase of needles, syringes, and other materials for the purpose of illegal drug use. Despite this prohibition, USAID has awarded millions of dollars in contracts to Soros-affiliated organizations engaged in needle exchange activities.

We documented these facts in a Special Report titled Soros Groups Receive Taxpayer Funds: State Department Collaborates in Skirting of U.S. Law Against Promoting Drug Use and Prostitution. We also asked the State Department’s Inspector General to investigate.

Our complaints were met with hostility by the State Department and disinterest by Congress. The State Department stonewalled our request to secure the relevant documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It took us 21 months, and the threat of a lawsuit, to get them.

In 2007, the State Department was in the hands of a Republican administration, but it failed to act. The Republican Congress now has no excuses.


Taxpayers Fund Cronyism, High Living at Louisiana Legal Services Grantee

SPECIAL REPORT: How the Federal Government Subsidizes AARP

SPECIAL REPORT: Soros Groups Receive Taxpayer Funds: State Department Collaborates in Skirting of U.S. Law Against Promoting Drug Use and Prostitution