U.S. President Barack Obama.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration stands by its rejection of claims that it has worked to influence the outcome of Israel’s March 17 election.
Since January, the State Department has questioned the veracity of reporting on a connection between its funding of OneVoice, an organization committed to the two-state solution, and the work of its subsidiary known as Victory 15, which has worked to topple the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since December.
In November 2014, the same month Netanyahu called for new elections, payments to OneVoice from the State Department ended as scheduled.
Roughly $350,000 was transferred from September 2013 to November 2014 from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv “to promote dialogue and support for peace negotiations and a two-state solution,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on January 28.
The embassy approved an implementation plan for the funds by OneVoice, and monitored its performance, “before the advent of V15,” she said.
“As is routine for such a grant, final payments are disbursed after the grantee provides documentation showing completion of the grant terms,” Psaki continued, noting that reports to the contrary stem from “inaccurate reporting – and a lack of reporting, perhaps I should say.”
Nevertheless, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas sent a letter to US President Barack Obama at the end of January asking for an explanation of the reported connection.
On Saturday, Fox News reported that the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has opened a formal investigation into OneVoice’s funding of V15.
The inquiry has support from Democrats and Republicans, according to anonymous sourcing to Fox News.
No committee member has confirmed the authenticity of report, but Fox notes that the office of the committee chairman, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, did not deny the opening of a probe.
“The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations does not comment on ongoing investigations,” Portman spokeswoman Caitlin Conant told Fox.The Jerusalem Post
has not independently confirmed the report.