'Enemies list' of 'Trumpists and Communists' published by Biden-linked Ukraine group, lawmakers charge

FIRST ON FOX: Ohio Republican Sen. J.D. Vance and Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz are demanding answers from Secretary of State Antony Blinken surrounding a State Department-linked Ukrainian nongovernmental organization (NGO) that published a list of Americans labeled “Trumpists and Communists” for their opposition to providing more U.S. funds to Ukraine, Fox News Digital exclusively learned.

“On June 6, 2024, a Ukrainian corporation, Texty.org.ua, published an online article entitled ‘Rollercoaster: From Trumpists to Communists. The forces in the U.S. impeding aid to Ukraine and how they do it,’” the pair of Republican lawmakers wrote in their letter to Blinken. “The title of this article oversells the product: it is a substantively thin piece, largely an excuse to smear a large group of Americans who have been skeptical of aid to Ukraine in one form or another.”

“But it is being broadcast as a part of a coordinated media strategy that has all the hallmarks of a U.S.-targeting influence operation,” the lawmakers continued, identifying the names detailed in the article as an “Enemies List.”

Vance, who is considered a top contender as former President Trump’s running mate in the 2024 election, and Gaetz sent the letter to Blinken on Wednesday, demanding information – including any grant agreements – the State Department has with the NGO and its founder, Anatoly Bondarenko.

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Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, left, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, right, are demanding answers from Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding an apparent “enemies list” by a State Department-affiliated organization. (Photos by Stephanie Keith, Saul Loeb, andJohannes Simon for Getty Images)

Texty.org.ua published a list of 388 individuals and 76 organizations identified as alleged “Trumpists and Communists” for publicly opposing further funding to Ukraine as it continues battling Russia. As of last month, Congress has approved a total of $175 billion in aid and military assistance to Ukraine, following Russia invading the nation in February 2022.

The pair of lawmakers highlighted to Blinken in their letter that the list includes 116 House members and 21 senators – all of whom are Republicans.

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“If this were merely some random news outlet in a foreign nation, such a hit piece would be easily ignored,” the lawmakers wrote. Bondarenko, the founder of Texty.org.ua, however, is “listed on a U.S. government website as supported by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, walks with President Biden down the colonnade to the Oval Office during a visit to the White House Sept. 21, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Evan Vucci-Pool/Getty Images)

A link provided by the lawmakers to the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs’ public diplomacy program website, called Tech Camps, details Bondarenko is “one of the founders of Texty.org.ua,” which is a news outlet that combines “classical and ‘digital’ journalism.”

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“He leads a team of 7 and is in charge of the data journalism part of the newsroom with four people working as designers, programmers and journalists at the same time. The team works on projects about corruptions, education, health care, news, city environment, state procurements, and specializes in telling a story using data visualization techniques. Anatoly holds a Masters degree in Engineering,” the U.S. government website states of Bondarenko.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, wearing a Laken Riley pin, is seen in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2024, ahead of the President’s State of the Union address. (Aaron Schwartz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Texty.org.ua’s piece lists the so-called “Trumpists and Communists” in graphics, organizing the names, organizations and movements into three categories: Politics, Media, and Experts. The list includes politicians such as Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Tim Scott, Gov. Ron DeSantis, as well as groups such as the “Squad” and the MAGA movement.

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Former President Trump headlines a Republican National Committee spring donor retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, on May 4, 2024. (Donald Trump 2024 campaign)

“We’ve identified a broad spectrum of aid opponents, ranging from Trump supporters to communists, and examined their connections,” the text from the article reads.

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“While our research does not cover every public figure opposing aid to Ukraine, it highlights prominent individuals and common arguments that often mirror Kremlin propaganda,” it continued.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 28: U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) questions witnesses in a hearing of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, in the Cannon House Office Building on February 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. The committee is investigating economic, technological and security competition between the U.S. and China.  ( Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, who was listed on Texty’s “enemies” roundup, sent a letter to Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, asking them to end U.S. support to Texty. The committee on Tuesday passed a resolution effectively defunding the NGO, sparking applause from Banks in comment provided to Fox Digital.

“I was just designated an ‘opponent of Ukraine,’ after being sanctioned by the Russian regime. I’m not bothered by what foreign nations think of me. But it’s shameful for our agencies to be using Hoosiers’ tax dollars to collaborate with foreign groups that attempt to intimidate U.S. citizens and lawmakers. I’d like to thank the Republicans on the Appropriations Committee for defunding any such work with the Data Journalism Agency,” Banks said in comment Wednesday afternoon.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education via videoconference at the Kremlin in Moscow on Thursday, Feb. 8. Denmark is warning that Russia could attack NATO in the next three to five years. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Vance and Gaetz called on Blinken to send them information by June 28 regarding “all releasable material related to Department of State support for Anatoly Bondarenko or Texty.org;” “Provide a list of any Department of State directives, master agreements, or other policies that outline obligations of grantees or subgrantees of the Department relevant to the above publication;” “Provide a list of any grants or other awards by the Department of State to Anatoly Bondarenko or Texty.org or Texty.org.ua;” and “Inform us whether or not the Department of State is initiating any investigation into violations of Departmental policy regarding this matter.”

Then-President Trump, right, welcomes J.D. Vance, then-Republican candidate for U.S. senator for Ohio, to the stage at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar )

“Needless to say, whatever one thinks of American foreign aid or support for Ukraine, all Americans can agree that our tax dollars should not be supporting direct attacks on U.S. persons based upon reasonable political disagreement, and especially not direct attacks on U.S. legislators based solely upon their vote,” they wrote.

Fox News Digital reached out to the State Department for comment on the letter but did not immediately receive a response.

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