Today, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, and U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) sent a joint letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a review of U.S. assistance to Egypt since 2011 in the wake of an Egyptian court ruling that convicted 43 NGO workers, including 16 U.S. citizens.
Ros-Lehtinen said: "Egypt continues to be one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign assistance, yet since the demonstrations in Tahrir Square freedoms have been further restricted and civil society programs have been curtailed. The latest conviction of U.S. NGOs in Egypt is unacceptable and our assistance package must be reexamined. Due to the marked downturn in Egypt since Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have come to power, this review is necessary so that we can properly evaluate the efficacy of our economic and security assistance programs toward meeting U.S. strategic objectives of promoting civil society, advancing civic engagement, and leveraging our assistance to promote real democratic reforms within Egypt."
Connolly said: "With the current state of affairs in Egypt, any certification that Egypt is implementing policies to guarantee the pillars of a free society would be met with skepticism. It is in the United States' interest for Egypt to be a free and fair society where all NGOs--regardless of their nation of origin--are allowed to operate freely."