New Jersey Congressman refutes determinations of Obama-Kenyan report

  • October 3rd, 2010 9:48 am ET

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) strongly criticized the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for results it published following an investigation into the Obama administration for alleged illegal intervention in influencing Kenyan politics on the passage of its new constitution, according to a report yesterday.

In a written statement the long time Garden State Congressman Smith, chief Republican on the House Panel on Africa, complained USAID, a supposed government watchdog group, and the Inspector General, submitted findings that were, “poorly researched, superficial, incomplete and a whitewash.”

Although he stopped short of using the word “collusion,” Smith also added, “We had expected the truth and nothing else. 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.”

Two of the core issues in the Kenyan referendum for a new constitution, which passed back in August this year, were the liberalization of abortion laws and the allowable implementation of certain provisions of Islamic Shari’a law inside that nation’s borders.

In spite of the Shari’ a proviso, which many believe to be anti-democratic, Obama curiously congratulated Kenya saying, “This was a significant step forward for Kenya’s democracy…”

Ahead of Kenya’s ratification of its new body of laws, president Barack Obama sent VP Joe Biden to foment support for its passage. Biden promised that by making such a paradigm change, Kenya could expect “the money to flow” from foreign treasuries to aid in its economic development and security.

Indeed the Obama administration invested a reported $23 million in Kenya lobbying in support of the referendum.

Opponents, including New Jersey’s Smith, claim the action was illegal as it violates the provisions of the “Siljander amendment” which stipulates, “No foreign assistance funds may be used to lobby for or against abortion.” [ref. Appropriations Act, Title II, “Child Survival and Health Programs Fund” and/or Title V, Section 518]

This amendment is named for its sponsor, former pro-life Congressman Mark Siljander, (R-MI) who also served as deputy ambassador to the U.N.

The controversial report did find that American taxpayer funds were spent to “achieve a yes vote” but no evidence of “direct lobbying” for any specific parts of the new laws was apparent. Smith however described it as an “incomplete audit” and that spending taxpayer funds on the constitution process was illegal regardless because it alters abortion policy.

In a related story, a Catholic Bishop, Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi, called for a canonical reprimand against U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is catholic

Gracida cites Biden’s efforts on behalf of Kenya’s new laws, the contents which he was well aware of, were “crossing the line as a catholic.” Ratification had been strenuously opposed by pro-life groups due to its pro-abortion language.

Smith and two others, Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) initiated the investigation back in May of this year when they petitioned the Inspectors General of the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and the Government Accountability Office, claiming “The Obama Administration’s advocacy …may constitute a serious violation of the Siljander Amendment and, as such, may be subject to civil and criminal penalties under the Antideficiency Act.”

With respect to the Islamic dictums, groups concerned over the continued propagation of what are considered draconian laws, have protested “It also carves out legal space for Muslim Kahdi’s courts, which handle family issues in accord with Shari’a law,” though only 12% of Kenya’s population of 39,000,000 are Muslim.

Opponents further argue that the new constitution allows these courts to extend their current jurisdiction from areas with a Muslim majority, e.g. the Kenya’s, Indian Ocean coast, throughout the entire country, which they claim will open the way to strict Shari’a law.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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