The State Department spent nearly $36.5 million polling the attitudes of citizens in foreign nations from 2007-2014, according to data compiled by the watchdog group OpenTheBooks.com.
According to group, some of the examples of the poll spending include $24,272 for a “survey on medical insurance” in Spain; $117,000 for an “Elite Survey in Russia,” and $50,728 for a survey to “Public Attitudes Towards Domestic And International Affairs In Austria.”
“As interesting and as important as foreign attitudes may be, U.S. taxpayers don’t need to subsidize polling operations that should be done by other countries or private organizations,” Adam Andrzejewski, the founder of OpenTheBooks.com, said in an emailed statement.
“What is the public purpose to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on surveys of the citizens of our allies like Japan, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain and England?” he asked.
Spending and polling examples were first reported by the Washington Times and are slated for inclusion in a larger oversight report and, OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Public Affairs /Public Relations, Polling, Research, and Surveys of the United States Federal Government scheduled for publication after Thanksgiving.
Andrzejewski, the author of the forthcoming report, noted that the agency’s spending on foreign surveys increased while Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was head of the agency.
“During the period when Hilary Clinton was Secretary of State, there was a lack of transparency. The agency ramped up spending on polling and surveying– without disclosing which vendors received tens of millions of dollars or basic disclosure of survey purpose,” he said.
Andrzejewski highlights that the countries surveyed include: Britain, Czechoslovakia, Tajikistan, Armenia, Serbia, Africa, Poland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Germany, Mexico, India, Korea, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Chile, Vietnam, New Zeeland, Fiji, Moldova, Zambia, Georgia, Morocco, and Tunisia.
The State Department did not immediately respond to request for comment.