USAID report: U.S. government using taxpayer money to support new Kenyan constitution that includes abortion provision

Amanda Carey Contributor
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A new report by the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) shows that the Obama administration has indeed been using taxpayer dollars to fund a “yes” campaign in Kenya ahead of the August vote on the proposed new Kenyan constitution. One provision in the constitution would legalize abortion in the country for the first time.

The USAID report contradicts recent statements by the U.S. Embassy in Kenya that denied any accusation that the Obama administration was improperly using money to lobby for the passage of the constitution.

“Regrettably, some leaders have approached the constitutional referendum through the lens of divisiveness and negative ethnicity rather than a process that can unify and heal the nation,” a July 12 statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Kenya said, clearly speaking to an internal Kenyan debate. “Recently, those leaders have alleged that Ambassador Ranneberger and the U.S. Embassy are providing funding to members of Parliament to support the ‘yes’ campaign or are intimidating opponents to the constitution. These claims are categorically false, and those making such allegations are lying.”

However, as part of an investigation launched by Republican Reps. Chris Smith, of New Jersey, Darrell Issa, of California, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Florida, into White House efforts in Kenya, USAID has turned over a report listing USAID funding recipients, all of which are non-governmental organizations (NGO). The report also included a summary of the agreements between USAID and the NGOs.

The Provincial Peace Forum, Eastern Providence received $97,633.33 to “gain buy-in for the new proposed constitution by educating the professional elites in Isiolo South Constituency about its benefits and getting their commitment to use their influence to ensure people register and vote YES at the referendum.”

The Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance (KMYA ) received $56,953.33 for “one of a series of activities that aim to contribute to an ‘overrepresentation’ of the YES voters at the next referendum. Specifically, OTI will provide support to Kenya Muslims Youth Alliance (KMYA) in the form of transportation and communications.”

The Central Organization of Trade Unions, Kenya (COTU) was paid $91,106.66 to “marshal a coalition of pro-Constitution individuals, institutions, and organizations to drum up political support for the Proposed Constitution by organizing a public rally at the historic Kamukunji Grounds, Nairobi.”

Other NGOs in the report include the Provincial Peace Forum, Rift Valley Province, the Inter-community Peace Choir Organization, the North Rift Theatre Ambassadors, the Amani Peoples Theatre, the Christian Community Services, and the Pokot Outreach Ministries. Together, the 10 NGOs listed received $632,479.92 of American taxpayer dollars.

“There is no doubt the Obama administration is funding the ‘yes’ campaign in Kenya,” Smith said in a press release.

“By funding NGOs charged with obtaining ‘yes’ votes, the administration has crossed the line,” he said.  “Directly supporting efforts to register ‘yes’ voters and ‘get out the yes vote’ means the U.S. government is running a political campaign in Kenya. U.S. taxpayer funds should not be used to support one side or the other. The Obama administration need not be shopping around for new places to export its abortion agenda at taxpayer expense.”

If federal money is indeed being used to support the expansion of legalized abortion in a foreign country, the Obama administration could be in violation of the Silijander Amendment, which prohibits the use of foreign assistance funds from being used to lobby for or against abortion.

In recent weeks, Vice President Joe Biden raised suspicions that the Obama administration may be supporting the “yes” campaign when he said during a speech in Kenya, “If you make these changes, I promise you, new foreign private investment will come in like you’ve never seen.”

When asked last week about the allegations, an official within the Vice President’s office referred The Daily Caller to previous statements made by President Obama and Vice President Biden offering support for the constitutional process in Kenya.

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, also raised suspicions of the administration’s intent to fund the “yes” campaign when he reportedly promised Kenyan officials that the U.S. was prepared to give $2 million to support the adoption of the new constitution and the “implementation of the reform agenda.”