By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 6, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life U.S. Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey this week blasted a just-released report commissioned by USAID’s inspector general (IG) on the Obama administration’s involvement in Kenya’s abortion-promoting constitution as “poorly researched,”“embarrassing,” and “a whitewash.”
Smith, who is the ranking U.S. congressman on the House of Representative’s Africa panel and co-chair of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus, had asked U.S. Agency for International Development’s IG Donald Gambatesa for a detailed report into allegations that the Obama State Department and USAID were illegally funding groups pushing for a “yes” vote on Kenya’s pro-abortion constitution.
Under U.S. statute known as the Siljander amendment, U.S. funds are forbidden to go to overseas “lobbying for or against abortion” in other countries.
Kenya’s since-passed constitution significantly changes abortion law from the previous document. It permits abortion for the sake of the “health” of the mother – a term that opponents of unborn rights admit can be “broadly interpreted when need be” to help bring about abortion on demand.
The constitution was adopted by approximately 70 percent of voters in August.
The New Jersey Republican said he received the IG’s report late Friday and was astonished at what was clearly a “whitewash” investigation.
“This was not a well-researched investigation. We had expected the truth and nothing else,” said Smith. “We had hoped the IG would dig deep for the facts. This is the most superficial report I’ve seen in my 30 years in Congress.”
According to the USAID IG, the Obama Administration poured $61.2 million into Kenya, which was given to eight prime recipients and 86 sub-recipients. $12.6 million was specifically related to the constitution reform process.
Although Gambatesa said he “did find evidence that USAID” had spent taxpayer funds to “achieve a yes vote”— an act Smith contends is illegal under Siljander because the new Kenyan constitution changes abortion policy — the IG said his office did not find any evidence of “direct lobbying.”
However, Smith and other concerned pro-life Congressman say that there is plenty of evidence that the federal government was waging a “yes” campaign in Kenya through proxy groups – a number of them pro-abortion non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Smith said the IG told him that his office conducted interviews and Internet searches of some of USAID’s lobbying grantees and found “the organizations listed above indicated that they do not have a position with respect to abortion.”
However, the response was a “credibility-buster” for the congressman, as several organizations (e.g. the Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya (FIDA-Kenya), African Woman and Child Feature Service, Women in Law and Development in Africa) are organizations that are well known to promote abortion in Kenya.
All three groups petitioned the Kenyan Parliament to advocate for proposed provisions in the draft constitution that would liberalize Kenya’s abortion laws, and all three groups received tens of thousands of dollars in U.S. federal money allocated to the Kenya referendum effort.
“With this poorly researched, incomplete audit, we still don’t know” the federal government’s full involvement, Smith said.
When he received a preliminary report from Gambatesa in June, Smith said he was shocked to learn that the IG’s investigator had performed a “Google search” to find NGOs positions on abortion. According to Smith, Gambatesa admitted that this was “embarrassing” after the IG was showed evidence from major media outlets confirming the NGOs well-established activities promoting abortion.
“This final audit is a major embarrassment as well,” Smith said.
See previous coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
Obama Congratulates Kenya for Passing Obama-Backed Constitution
Bribed, Intimidated Kenyan Voters Approve Pro-Abortion Constitution
Biden Promises Kenya 'Money to Flow' if Pro-Abort Constitution Passes
Feds Hand $23 Million to Kenya Proxies Fighting for Pro-Abortion Constitution