Obama Admin May Face Probe on Funding of Pro-Abortion Kenya Groups

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 8, 2010   |   11:50AM   |   Washington, DC

With the House of Representatives in pro-life hands starting next January, the Obama administration may find itself the subject of a congressional investigation related to the potentially illegal funding of pro-abortion groups.

The Obama administration has repeatedly come under fire from pro-life Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who leads the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.

Smith has been concerned about a USAID report indicating the Obama administration spent $61.2 million related to the vote on the August vote on the new Kenya constitution. The report shows 12.6 million going to efforts to directly promote the pro-abortion constitution.

The constitution Kenyans adopted contained a clause making it so abortions would be legalized in any case in which medical professionals say it is somehow necessary for women.

As a result, the funding of groups promoting it appears to violate the Siljander Amendment — a federal law Congress approved decades ago that prevents the federal government from spending taxpayer funds promoting abortions in other nations.

Before the mid-term elections, Congressman Smith told LifeNews.com one of the consequences of Republicans taking over the House is the ability of pro-life advocates leading committees and subcommittees to the their powers to hold the Obama administration accountable on subject like this. He said the “investigatory and subpoena powers” the committees have would be useful in following up on the question of whether the Obama administration broke the law in funding the pro-constitution and pro-abortion groups.

Last week, he said the elections resulted in the victory of many new pro-life lawmakers who can support a potential investigation.

“The American people have spoken, and replaced 38 pro-abortion Members with pro-life Members and replaced 14 unreliable Members with reliable pro-life Representatives,” he said. “Of the 93 Members of the Freshman Class at least 77 are committed to defending the unborn.”

“January will mark the beginning of the arguably most pro-life House ever,” he added. “This is another message to President Obama that the American people will not be fooled by the Obama administration’s accounting gimmicks and phony Executive Orders.  They expect their elected officials to stand up for life without backing down.”

Obama officials contend the money went to voter education efforts on the process itself and not promoting a Yes vote and the USAID report did not dispute that.

It claimed the organizations the Obama administration funded “indicated that they do not have a public position on abortion,” and “we did not find any evidence that USAID funds had been spent on direct lobbying for or against abortion.”

The USAID IG made the contention despite declaring the it “did find evidence that USAID” had spent taxpayers funds to “achieve a yes vote.”

Smith, following up on what he believes was a bogus report that tried to “whitewash” the Obama administration’s funding, held a meeting with Acting Comptroller General Gene Dadaro of the GAO in October to pursue a more independent investigation from the government agency.

“Dadaro is an accomplished investigator. Both he and his team seemed to be very interested in undertaking a comprehensive look,” Smith told LifeNews.com at the time.

Smith said the Governmental Accounting Office official had his interest piqued by evidence from USAID’s own report that it did not require the Kenyan organizations Obama funded to promote the constitution to follow U.S. law that they not advocate for or against abortion.

In some cases the clause to not lobby for abortion was missing, in other cases it was added to the contracts the Obama administration signed with the Kenyan groups after the fact — when the money had been dispersed to the groups working for the pro-abortion constitution.

“How can any agency enforce a legally binding contract clause that was either not present in the contract at all or was added after the fact?” Smith told LifeNews.com in October. How can the USAID IG clear USAID when the inferior and inadequate probe they conducted raises significantly more questions than it answers?”

Smith said “by either design or gross incompetence,” USAID only added the clause to not lobby on abortions with U.S. taxpayer funds to the contract with the leading pro-abortion organization in Kenya — the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya (FIDA-Kenya) — in August, 2010.

The IG doesn’t indicate when in August the clauses were added.

Smith says, with the Kenya referendum taking place on August 4, the contract with what is arguably the leading pro-abortion organization in Kenya pushing for the pro-abortion constitution didn’t go into effect until after it spent U.S. taxpayer funds pushing its adoption.

“FIDA-Kenya was so outspoken and visible in their drive for a pro-abortion Kenyan Constitution that they acted as ‘intervener’ in a suit filed on July 12, 2010 in the Interim Resolution Court in Nairobi,” Smith explained. “FIDA-Kenya’s position in court papers: ‘the current clause on abortion must remain as is in order to safeguard the rights of women.’”

Yet, USAID only conducted Internet searches on the organizations and found that FIDA-Kenya and other “organizations listed above indicated that they do not have a public position with respect to abortion.”

Smith also informed LifeNews.com of other groups that either had no clause in the contract conforming to federal law against abortion lobbying with taxpayer funds or had the clause added late in the process or after the referendum vote.

* Development Alternatives Inc. received more than $22 million from the Obama administration. The pro-life clauses including the Siljander Amendment weren’t added to the contract with DAI and 84 subrecipients until June 2010.

* The National Democratic Institute received $3,260,272 and the clauses weren’t added to the contracts until August, 2010.

* PACT Inc received $23,657,999.00. According to the USAID IG’s letter enclosure of 9/29/2010 “..the required clauses were not present in USAID agreements with the State University of New York or PACT Inc.”

* KPMG Kenya received $1.5 million but USAID fails to say when the clause was added.

* International Development Law Organization received $400,000 and the clause wasn’t added until August, 2010.

* United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) received $3,250,000 and Smith says USAID claims that pro-life clauses are not applicable to such entities.

* International Foundation for Electoral Systems received $98,959 and the clauses weren’t added until August, 2010.

“How does any agency, including USAID, enforce a legally binding clause that was either omitted or added late?” Smith asked earlier. “Were the pro-life laws abridged intentionally? Did the IG even ask?”