A Capitol Hill veteran who was recently appointed as majority staff director for the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Philip Kiko, has lobbied on behalf of far-left groups heavily tied to and financed by George Soros.
A significant portion of the lobby activities focused on opposing Voter ID laws, which would have required voters to bring photo identification to the voting booths.
Kiko would not be the first Soros-tied investigator in a government probe of the Benghazi attack.
The State Department’s lead Benghazi investigator, Thomas Pickering, co-authored the Accountability Review Board, or ARP report, which critics say absolved Hillary Clinton of wrongdoing in the attacks.
WND was first to report Pickering is tied to Soros and to the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa through his role as a member of the small board of the International Crisis Group, or ICG.
Kiko was appointed by House Benghazi committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who has stated that politics should not play a role in the investigation.
Gowdy insists the probe will be fact-based and believes his choice of Kiko, who has “a proven record of effective leadership and management,” is in line with that aim.
“I am pleased to have him on our team as we conduct a serious, fact-driven investigation to ensure our fellow Americans know the full truth about what happened in Benghazi,” Gowdy said.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, praised Gowdy’s selection of Kiko.
“Phil Kiko is a man of unquestioned integrity with a record of distinguished service to the House and the American people,” he said. “His appointment today is further proof of Chairman Gowdy’s commitment to an investigation that is serious, fact-based and professional.”
“The American people deserve the full truth about what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, and there is no better person to help lead this effort than Phil,” Boehner said.
Amanda Duvall, a spokeswoman for Gowdy noted that Kiko worked for the Executive Branch under Presidents Reagan and George H. Bush. He was in the House for many years, including as Republican staff director and chief counsel for the House Judiciary Committee under former Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, she said.
During Sensenbrenner’s tenure at Judiciary, 116 bills were passed, including a ban on partial birth abortion and the Visa and Border Security Act.
Duvall said Kiko “earned the respect of those he worked with on both sides of the aisle.”
“He has a solid track record and we have confidence in his ability to serve as staff director,” she said.
The conservative blogosphere, nevertheless, has been abuzz about Kiko’s work as a registered lobbyist for two leftist groups, the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, or LCCHR.
The LCCHR is a clearinghouse of 200 mostly leftist organizations, including Soros’ own Open Society Policy Center and scores of Soros-financed groups.
Between 2005 and 2009, LCCHR itself received $3,755,900 in grants from Soros.
The LCCHR’s Education Fund board of directors includes White House counselor John Podesta, who founded the Soros-financed Center for American Progress, which is described as the “idea factory” of the progressive left.
Lobbyist registration documentation shows that in June 2013, Kiko registered as the ACLU’s lobbyist via his position with the Smith-Free Group lobby firm.
As of October 2011, the ACLU ranked fourth among Soros-funded grantees, according to the Sorosfiles.com watchdog website.
A litany of member groups of Kiko’s other client, LCCHR, have received funding from Soros’ Open Society Foundation, including the ACLU, American Federation of Teachers, American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, Brennan Center for Social Justice, Center for Community Change, Common Cause and DEMOS, which employs Van Jones, President Obama’s controversial former “green” jobs czar.
Other Soros-funded LCCHR member groups include the Feminist Majority, Human Rights Campaign, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Lawyers’ Committee for Legal Rights Under the Law, MALDEF, National Council of La Raza, National Immigration Forum, National Immigration Law Center, National Lawyers Guild, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women’s Law Center, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, Project Vote, Sierra Club and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
A sampling of LCCHR members reads like a who’s who of the radical left, including Americans for Democratic Action, a counterpart to the Democratic Socialists of America; the Soros-funded United States Student Association; and the Soros-financed Lambda Legal Fund.
LCCHR member Center for Social Inclusion was founded in 2002 by Maya Wiley, daughter of ACORN founder George Wiley. The group was founded with $75,000 in seed money from Soros’s Open Society. Wiley later became chairman of board of the Soros-financed Tides Network.
Working as a lobbyist, Kiko has been deeply involved in activism on so-called voting-rights issues. Numerous lobbying reports show Kiko held Capitol Hill meetings on behalf of the ACLU last year on discussions pushing renewed Voting Rights Act legislation.
Led by Attorney General Eric Holder, the legislation was a drive to require certain states and local governments to obtain federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices. Holder was taking particular aim at the proposed Texas voter ID law, which would have required voters to show photo identification.
A closer look at LCCHR finds numerous members leading the drive to amend voting laws, including Project Vote, the League of Women Voters and the Soros-funded Voter Participation Center, formerly known as Women’s Voices Women Vote.
Soros and Benghazi probe
Kiko is not alone in his Soros ties among the investigators of the Benghazi attack.
WND reported Pickering, the State Department’s lead investigator, is tied to Soros and to the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa through his role as a member of the small board of the International Crisis Group, or ICG, one of the main proponents of the international “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine.
The doctrine is the military protocol that was used to justify the NATO bombing campaign that brought down Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya.
Gareth Evans, president emeritus of the ICG, is the founder and co-author of the doctrine.
Soros is on the ICG’s executive board. Soros’ Open Society Institute is also one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the group that devised the doctrine.
The ICG itself has long petitioned for talks with Hamas as well as normalized relations with the Muslim Brotherhood. For years, it urged the Egyptian government to allow the Brotherhood to establish an Islamist political party, as WND previously reported.
Responsibility to Protect, or Responsibility to Act, as cited by Obama, is a set of principles, now backed by the United Nations, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege but a responsibility that can be revoked if a country is accused of “war crimes,” “genocide,” “crimes against humanity” or “ethnic cleansing.”
The term “war crimes” has at times been indiscriminately used by various U.N.-backed international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, or ICC, which applied it to Israeli anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip. There has been fear the ICC could be used to prosecute U.S. troops.
Right to ‘penetrate nation-states’ borders’
Soros himself outlined the fundamentals of Responsibility to Protect in a 2004 Foreign Policy magazine article titled “The People’s Sovereignty: How a New Twist on an Old Idea Can Protect the World’s Most Vulnerable Populations.”
In the article, Soros said “true sovereignty belongs to the people, who in turn delegate it to their governments.”
“If governments abuse the authority entrusted to them and citizens have no opportunity to correct such abuses, outside interference is justified,” Soros wrote. “By specifying that sovereignty is based on the people, the international community can penetrate nation-states’ borders to protect the rights of citizens.
“In particular,” he said, “the principle of the people’s sovereignty can help solve two modern challenges: the obstacles to delivering aid effectively to sovereign states, and the obstacles to global collective action dealing with states experiencing internal conflict.”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott.