May 28, 2010
A U.S. Congressman investigating possibly illegal expenditure towards the promotion of abortion in Kenya says he has receivedinformation that indicates the Obama Administration may have funneled more than $10 million in taxpayer funds into the project.
Earlier this month Rep. Chris Smith (R, NJ) wrote to the State Department, calling for a federal probe to determine whether government spending in support of a pro-abortion constitution in Kenya contravened U.S. laws.
Smith, the top ranking Republican on the House Africa and Global Health Subcommittee, along with Darrell Issa of California, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, outlined their concerns that the Obama Administration’s advocacy, along with a pledge to spend $2 million to build support for the proposed constitution, could constitute a serious violation of the Siljander Amendment and, as such, may be subject to civil and criminal penalties under the Antideficiency Act.
The Siljander Amendment, part of the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Act reads, “None of the funds made available under this Act may be used to lobby for or against abortion,” and “violations are subject to civil and criminal penalties under the Antideficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. § 1341.”
Now Rep. Smith says investigators have provided him with fresh information:
“This week I learned that U.S. taxpayer expenditures in support of the proposed constitution may exceed $10 million—five times the level we original suspected,” Smith told the independent pro-life news website LifeNews.com.
“This massive spending will undoubtedly be directed to those entities that are pressing for ratification of the proposed constitution. Such support will further enable passage of a constitution that is opposed by many pro-life leaders in Kenya, because it enshrines new rights to abortion. As such, the funding is a clear violation of federal law against use of U.S. taxpayer funds to lobby for or against abortion,” Smith explained.
He added, “Learning of significant additional U.S. donations gives even more urgency to our request for thorough and objective investigations into all State Department and USAID funded activities related to Kenya’s proposed constitution. I hope that all investigative agencies will take our request seriously and act swiftly in this matter.”
Despite the fact that up to 300,000 abortions take place every year, the practice is not currently permitted in Kenya, except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. The proposed new constitution, set to undergo a public referendum in August, would effectively legislate for unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason.
According to Human Life International (HLI) up to 20 foreign pro-abortion groups are currently spending money in the African country to gain public approval of the proposed constitution.
Last month, US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger urged Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to rally popular support for the constitution, and intimated that the Obama administration would help fund a national campaign in an effort to persuade the public to ratify the document.
Any official probe into U.S. government spending in Kenya is likely to point to one of Obama’s first acts in office, the issuance of an executive order lifting a ban on using taxpayer money to fund international “family planning” groups who counsel women and perform abortions around the world, but mainly in Africa.