Bachmann, Paul press Clinton to reject military aid to Egypt

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) this week called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not to certify that Egypt's government is promoting freedom of expression and religion, a finding that would allow the U.S. to offer Egypt military aid.

In a March 15 letter to Clinton, the Bachmann and Paul said that Egypt's government is still investigating activists and repressing the freedom of expression and religion, and that the rule of law is still under threat.

"A decision to waive the conditions on military aid would send the wrong message to the Egyptian government that U.S. taxpayers will subsidize the Egyptian military while it continues to oversee the crackdown on civil society and to commit human rights abuses," they wrote. "No credible assessment of the situation in Egypt can conclude that the Egyptian government is 'implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law.' "

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That last requirement was a condition of military aid that Congress placed in the 2012 State Department and foreign aid appropriations bill. Bachmann and Paul also called on Clinton "not to waive these conditions" in order to send aid to Egypt.

The letter was prompted in part by a pending April 10 trial involving the staff of several non-government organizations (NGOs), including the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House. It added that investigations into 400 NGOs are still ongoing, further eroding individual freedom in Egypt.

The letter said the U.S. should block all aid to Egypt's military until Egypt allows domestic and foreign NGOs to operate, anti-NGO laws are repealed and their property returned, and the U.S. government is repaid all bail posted to release NGO staff.

Bachmann and Paul also said the U.S. needs to delay aid until Egypt "begins to respect the fundamental rights of its citizens and due process of law."