George Soros and Colm O’Gorman, of Amnesty International Ireland
Readers may recall how Amnesty International Ireland is continuing to resist demands by the the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) to return a €137,000 donation to fund their campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.
Catherine Sanz and Michael Cogley, the Times Ireland edition, reported:
The OSF (Open Society Foundation) contradicted a statement issued by Sipo last Wednesday claiming that Sipo had received written confirmation from the donor that the funding was explicitly for political purposes. Sherry Perreault, head of ethics and lobbying at Sipo, said there had been “a bit of wordsmithing” from the OSF on the matter and that Sipo had verified documents relating to the donation.
“There was documentary evidence received by the commission which was verified by the donor,” she said. “By virtue of verifying this information, the donor essentially clarified the intent.”
Fund backs Amnesty’s defiance of watchdog (Catherine Sanz, Michael Cogley, The Times Ireland edition)
Further to this…
Jonathan Birchall, Lead Communications Officer at OSF in New York, has released the following statement:
“The Open Society Foundation wishes to clarify that it has at no time confirmed to Ireland’s Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) that a €137,000 grant given by our Women’s Rights Program to Amnesty International Ireland (AI) in 2016 was for political purposes.
“Open Society has written to the regulator asking for any public statements to the contrary to be corrected.
“The grant in question was to fund AI’s My Body My Rights campaign, which seeks to mobilize support for a repeal of the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which effectively bans all forms of abortion in Ireland in violation of women’s and girls’ human rights.
“In asserting that the grant was for “political purposes” SIPO’s head of ethics and lobbying, Sherry Perreault, was quoted in The Times of Ireland on December 20 as saying that there was “documentary evidence received by the commission which was verified by the donor” which “essentially clarified the intent.”
“The Open Society Foundations is concerned that the regulator may be referring to internal documents that were stolen from our servers and illegally published on the DC Leaks website in 2016, reportedly by hackers working for the Russian government seeking to publicly discredit our human rights work around the world.
“As Open Society has noted to SIPOC in correspondence, these documents were not dispositive of our intent as a donor. Rather, they were part of an ongoing discussion on how best to strengthen women’s reproductive rights across Europe.
“In addition, it was Amnesty who first approached Open Society, in a general call for expressions of interest for a grant that was not specific to abortion.
“Furthermore, the legal scope of the grant given to Amnesty International is determined by the language of the grant agreement, and not by any other document. The Open Society Foundations trusts that SIPO will rely only on this document to determine whether the terms of this grant comply with Irish law.”
Previously: Above The Law