A senior Peace Corps official who helped steer Department-of-State-funded contracts to a nonprofit founded and managed by former Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter was charged in federal court with illegally lobbying his former government colleagues, according to a criminal charge made public Monday.
Prosecutors charged former Peace Corps Office of Global Health and HIV Director Warren “Buck” Buckingham with violating a federal conflict of interest law, Politico first reported.
Buckingham “knowingly and willfully made, with the intent to influence” communications with Peace Corps officials “in connection with a particular matter” from around August 2015 through around September 2015, said the charging document that was filed Friday, but made public Monday.
Buckingham’s violation can result in up to five years in prison. The case was filed as a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum one-year sentence, according to Politico.
Dr. Vanessa Kerry’s nonprofit, Seed Global Health, hired Buckingham in September 2015 – the same month the Peace Corps awarded the charity with a State Department-funded $6.4 million contract extension, The Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported. He also helped Seed secure its original $2 million contract with the Peace Corps in 2012. (EXCLUSIVE: John Kerry’s State Department Funneled MILLIONS To His Daughter’s Nonprofit)
Both the original contract and its extension were awarded without competition. Seed ultimately reaped more than $9 million in government money since 2012. The nonprofit was supposed to send doctors and nurses to third-world countries to teach medicine, but previous DCNF investigations found Seed fell short of its goals.
Buckingham retired from the Peace Corps soon after Seed was awarded its first contract while facing an inspector general investigation that found he improperly hired an employee and then sent the official lewd emails, TheDCNF previously reported.
A previous DCNF investigative series outlined Buckingham’s dealings with the Peace Corps, Seed and Kerry and exposed a scheme that funneled State Department funding to the nonprofit.
Buckingham was part of high-level meetings between Kerry and a high-ranking State Department ambassador that ultimately brought the contracts to Seed.
“Buck obtained clarity of the mechanism by which federal money will be provided to” Seed, minutes from a 2011 meeting said. “The process can be fast tracked and non-competed through a specific grant mechanism.”
Buckingham was also listed as the Peace Corps point of contact on Seed’s first contract with the agency and authorized Peace Corps-funded trips for Kerry and her staff to fly domestically and internationally while forming the program they were creating.
Former Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams and former Associate Director Esther Benjamin also joined Seed as part of the nonprofit’s board of trustees, TheDCNF previously reported.
The State Department repeatedly said John Kerry did not play a role in funding the Peace Corps contracts, but TheDCNF revealed that Seed was founded in the former secretary of state’s home and later announced the contract extension after bragging about the nonprofit’s accomplishments.
Seed did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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