Potentially illegal U.S. taxpayer funding in support of Kenya’s proposed pro-abortion constitution may now exceed five times the level originally expected, announced the office of leading pro-life U.S. congressman Chris Smith Wednesday.
In a May 6 letter to the Inspectors General at the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), three leading Republicans called for investigations into the funding, including whether a $2 million donation to promote the proposed constitution violates a provision of law known as the Siljander Amendment. The provision stipulates that no USAID and State Department funds “may be used to lobby for or against abortion.”
The new constitution’s abolition of the country’s strict abortion ban has been one of the top generators of controversy over the document in Kenya.
Subsequent meetings with investigators have revealed that actual U.S. taxpayer expenditures in support of the pro-abortion constitution are estimated to exceed $10 million.
Representative Chris Smith (NJ-04), the Ranking Republican on the House Africa and Global Health Subcommittee who is spearheading three requests for investigations into U.S. spending in Kenya, said, “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.
“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.”
The discovery of additional U.S. donations, said the pro-life veteran, “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,” said Smith.
Smith authored the May 6 letters and was joined by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Darrell Issa (CA-49), the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee. All three Members of Congress have broad legal oversight jurisdiction concerning federal international funds.