As April comes to an end Judicial Watch offers a sampling of some of the outrageous foreign causes that one agency alone dedicated hundreds of millions to, including $24.5 million for male circumcision in Swaziland and $71 million to improve child learning outcomes in Ghana.
Remember, this huge chunk of American taxpayer dollars was allocated in just one month by a single government agency, the famously corrupt U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID). With a massive budget and little oversight, USAID is charged with providing global economic, development and humanitarian assistance. That means big bucks go to all sorts of preposterous initiatives in countries that are unlikely to be a priority for Americans as they suffer through economic hardships and high unemployment at home.
The figures were obtained from a government website that serves as a centralized location for grant seekers applying for federal funding. Nonprofits and businesses can visit the site to see how much cash Uncle Sam is doling out each month for a variety of causes, both domestic and abroad. The numbers are downright alarming with USAID announcing that it’s doling out an astounding $341 million in just April. It’s an insane spending frenzy by an agency long plagued with fraud and corruption.
Let’s start with the two projects mentioned earlier in this piece. Americans will spend $24.5 million to circumcise as many males, ages 10-49 and infants, as possible in Swaziland because it can reduce the risk of contracting HIV, according to a USAID announcement. Located in South Africa, the Kingdom of Swaziland has the highest rates of HIV in the world, the agency says. The $71 million Ghana allocation is expected to improve the reading performance of approximately 2.8 million children in the West African nation. The funds will also enable a “more effective implementation of Ghana’s mother tongue bilingual instruction policy,” according to USAID’s grant announcement.
Now let’s consider some of the other April allocations. To support a cross-border health partnership in Kenya Uncle Sam is sending over $74 million to provide Africans with quality health services such as family planning and the prevention of communicable diseases like AIDS. U.S. taxpayers will also spend $38 million to support economic development in Pakistan, $35 million for health causes in Mali and $30 million for similar health-related projects in Uganda. Palestine’s health system will receive $10 million.
Sanitation programs in West Africa will benefit from a $15.8 million infusion and $9 million will go to “people to people” programs in the West Bank Gaza conflict. Improving media access and civil society in a former Soviet republic will cost American taxpayers $10.6 million and combating human trafficking in Bangladesh $4 million. A program that promises to create a “more robust civil society” in central Asia is getting $4.5 million and a similar initiative in Serbia will receive $1.6 million. There are many more enraging allocations that can be viewed on the government grant website listed above.
These are the kinds of programs USAID blows our money on. Just a few days ago Judicial Watch reported on the scandal involving the agency’s costly project to build post-earthquake housing in Haiti. For $55 million USAID was supposed to construct 4,000 houses outside Haiti’s capital by 2012, but only 816 have been completed even after the budget got increased to $90 million. A USAID Inspector General report outlined the boondoggle, revealing that the agency not only exceeded costs and deadlines, but also failed to provide adequate oversight of contractors doing the work.
Shortly before that scandal broke, a mainstream newspaper published a shameful exposé about USAID’s multi-billion-dollar program to treat malaria in Africa. A chunk of the malaria drugs provided to Africa by the U.S. are actually stolen each year and sold on the black market for a profit. In all, $60 million in malaria drugs are stolen each year, according to the article which cited inside government sources. USAID actually admits in the article that it has long known that malaria drugs financed by American taxpayers are regularly stolen in Africa.
More than four years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, the U.S. government’s costly initiative to build housing on the poverty-stricken Caribbean island has failed miserably even though tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars have been spent on the effort.
Fraud and corruption in the largely U.S.-funded Haiti recovery effort is old news and Judicial Watch has been reporting it for years. Congress approved $1.4 billion to help Haiti bounce back from the catastrophic 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 and left over 1 million homeless. Most of the money has flowed through the famously crooked—and scandal-plagued—United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is charged with providing economic, development and humanitarian assistance worldwide
USAID has a massive budget and it doles out billions to feel-good causes like reducing global poverty and under nutrition in Africa and to help Asians learn enough English to work in offshore call centers for American businesses. Just a few months ago a mainstream newspaper published a shameful exposé about the agency’s multi-billion-dollar program to treat malaria in Africa. A chunk of the malaria drugs provided to Africa by the U.S. are actually stolen each year and sold on the black market for a profit.
Similar boondoggles are going on in Haiti. In fact, last summer a federal audit revealed that hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to wasteful projects on the island with the single largest chunk—$170.3 million—going to a failed port and power plant adventure heavily promoted by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Clinton-backed power and port venture is the biggest and most expensive failure mentioned in the probe, which was ordered by a Florida congresswoman who confirmed a “troubling lack of progress and accountability” in Haiti reconstruction projects.
This month USAID’s Inspector General published a report blasting the agency’s outrageous Haiti housing effort, which is rife with all sorts of serious problems and has exceeded costs and deadlines. For $55 million USAID was supposed to build 4,000 houses outside Haiti’s capital by 2012 but only 816 have been constructed even though funding increased to a startling $90 million. “The mission did not achieve its goals for constructing houses and developing home sites within budget and on schedule,” the audit says diplomatically.
Besides drastically overestimating the number of houses it would be able to construct in the allotted time, USAID failed to provide adequate oversight of contractors doing the work and severely underestimated costs, according to the agency watchdog. USAID also failed to keep complete records as is required in these sorts of projects and the agency didn’t bother enforcing a key provision; that contractors, hired with American tax dollars, document, track and correct deficiencies.
“The Federal Acquisition Regulation requires agencies to evaluate and report on contractor performance for each contract exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, which is currently $150,000,” the report says. “USAID policy guidance also requires contracting officers and contracting officer’s representatives to evaluate contractor performance at least annually and, on contract completion, provide information for future source selection and other acquisition decisions.”
This didn’t happen with any of the six contracts awarded to four companies performing the “new settlement construction” in Haiti, auditors confirm. It gets better; even when a “technical office” pointed out to USAID officials that they were violating all these regulations, the agency continued doing it. Not to worry, the money will continue flowing despite the fleecing and severe mismanagement because the report mentions that following the rules will help with “upcoming awards.” More than $50 million has already gone to a number of contractors in Haiti that aren’t included in this probe, according to USAID’s own figures.
Huge sums of money have poured into Haiti in the earthquake’s aftermath, including $34 million from the Clinton Foundation and $54.4 million from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. On its website the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund claims that it has helped Haitians transform their own country and that the money has helped promote smart, sustainable economic development. Yet four years later news report after news report reveals that a large number of Haitians still live in deplorable, shanty town tent cities and an ongoing epidemic of cholera has claimed thousands of lives. Makes you wonder if someone is pocketing the money.
As if it weren’t bad enough that the U.S. has already wasted billions of taxpayer dollars to save the developing world from the presumed ills of global warming, millions more will go to a Philippines-based project that aims to combat climate change in the Pacific Islands.
Is there no end to this madness? Last year a congressional report revealed that during the Obama presidency, American taxpayers have already doled out a ghastly $3 billion to help poor countries fight global warming and the money will continue flowing. The goal, according to the administration, is to make climate financing efficient, effective and innovative since global warming threatens to diminish the “habitability of our planet.”
The administration has created this heightened drama to justify funding this preposterous worldwide initiative. In the last few years the U.S. government has produced or funded a number of sensational reports warning that climate change could cause everything from mental illness and cancer to a more violent world with a “dangerous” food supply. One recent taxpayer-funded study said the Washington D.C. area and surrounding government infrastructure will be virtually destroyed by global warming over the next century. Click here to read Judicial Watch’s ongoing coverage of this outrageous nonsense.
Now we learn that the Obama administration has created a special Pacific American Climate Fund (known as PACAM) to distribute cash to “civil society organizations throughout the Pacific Rim in support of climate change adaptation measures.” Though mostly funded by Uncle Sam, the project is based in the Philippines and the money goes to a dozen islands throughout the Pacific, including Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Marshall Islands and Kiribati. The ultimate goal is to “strengthen the resiliency of vulnerable communities in Pacific island countries to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change,” according to the U.S.
With an astounding national debt of more than $17 trillion and perpetually high unemployment in this country, most Americans probably don’t consider filling the coffers of these remote islands a priority. The government agency funneling the cash, the famously corrupt U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), explains in a lengthy report that the money will finance regional activities that aim to reduce “long-term vulnerabilities associated with climate change and achieve sustainable climate-resilient development.”
Does anybody know what this really means? More importantly, why should Americans care? USAID explains: “Many Pacific Islands countries depend on tourism, fisheries, and agriculture as their main source of income, foreign exchange, and economic livelihood. Climate change impacts such as beach erosion, sea level rise, warming temperatures, reduced freshwater access, bleaching of coral reefs, increased incidence of vector borne disease, and increasing storm intensities pose risks to these sectors and other economic activities.”
The scandal-plagued government agency that annually spends huge sums on global humanitarian assistance has found yet another noble cause to blow a chunk of American taxpayer dollars on—improving the quality of media content in a former Soviet republic with a democratic government.
It’s simply the latest of many questionable allocations of public funds by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which is charged with providing economic, development and humanitarian assistance worldwide. In a recent announcement titled “USAID from the American People/Armenia,” the Obama administration revealed that it’s dedicating $3.35 million to make media more efficient in the southwestern Asian country.
The program is officially called “Media for Informed Civic Engagement” and the goal is to increase citizen access to independent and reliable sources of information about the government of Armenia’s policies and planned reforms. Special emphasis will be put on “reforms in decentralization, transparency and accountability, and social sector policy,” according to the USAID announcement.
In the end “media capacity to meet professional standards of journalism and reflect a diversity of perspectives in reporting” will be strengthened, USAID says. Journalists will be more professional, networks of media outlets will be stronger and access to credible and professionally produced information will increase. With the U.S. economy hurting for years and unemployment sky high, it’s fair to say this isn’t a priority for most Americans.
Then again, that can be said about many of the causes that USAID funds with our tax money. The agency has a massive budget and it doles out billions of dollars to feel-good causes like reducing global poverty and under nutrition in Africa and to help Asians learn enough English to work in offshore call centers for American businesses. You can’t make this stuff up. USAID actually spent $10 million to train Filipinos to work in Asian call centers that serve the very U.S. businesses President Obama threatened to strip of tax deductions for moving jobs and profits abroad.
In the last few months alone, USAID has been embroiled in two massive scandals that have fleeced Americans out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The first one involves the allocation of $236 million to the fraud-infested Afghan Ministry of Public Health. The money is supposed to fund prenatal care for women, hospitals, physicians’ salaries and other medical costs but the Islamic republic’s health agency lacks the necessary controls and oversight to prevent waste, fraud and abuse so no really knows where the money has gone.
In fact, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which was created precisely to protect American tax dollars in the country’s assistance effort, has repeatedly warned USAID about the corruption that plagues the health agency. The continuous flow of U.S. cash to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health is a “reckless disregard toward the management of U.S. taxpayer dollars,” the watchdog writes in a recent report.
Just a few weeks ago Judicial Watch wrote about a mainstream newspaper exposé detailing how millions of dollars in malaria drugs provided to Africa by the U.S. government—via USAID—are stolen each year and sold on the black market. More than 20% of the mostly American-financed malaria drugs are diverted each year, with a street value of about $60 million, according to inside government sources cited in the news story. The U.S. provides the medication via a USAID program called President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).
Millions of dollars in malaria drugs provided to Africa by the U.S. government are stolen each year and sold on the black market and the agency at the center of the scandal is well known for pervasive fraud and corruption.
It involves the U.S. government’s multi-billion-dollar investment in a program to treat malaria in Africa, where the disease is rampant and kills more than half a million each year. Since 2002 Uncle Sam has dedicated close to $10 billion for the cause and a mainstream newspaper published a scandalous expose (“Thieves Hijacking Malaria Drugs in Africa”) this week that tells how organized networks steal large quantities of donated malaria drugs that end up for sale at street markets.
More than 20% of the mostly American-financed malaria drugs are diverted each year, with a street value of about $60 million, according to inside government sources cited in the news story. The U.S. provides the medication via a program called President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by non-other than the fraud-infested U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
USAID provides economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide, has a massive budget and doles out billions to feel-good causes like reducing global poverty and under nutrition in Africa and to help Asians learn enough English to work in offshore call centers for American businesses. The agency was recently blasted in a federal audit for giving the Afghan Ministry of Public Health $236 million despite multiple warnings of fraud and corruption in the Islamic republic’s scandal-plagued healthcare system.
The report came on the heels of a separate investigation chastising USAID over the government’s perpetually corrupt Haiti earthquake recovery effort. A chunk of the $1.14 billion that Congress approved to help the island recover from the 2010 trembler has been distributed by USAID and the money has been largely spent on wasteful projects, according to the probe. Since 2010 USAID has dedicated $651 million to Haiti earthquake recovery with little to show for it.
In this particular case the agency actually acknowledges that it has long known that malaria drugs financed by American taxpayers are regularly stolen in Africa. “This is not the first report of theft or illegal diversion,” USAID admits in a statement addressing the recent article. As far back as 2010 drugs “intended for use in public sector clinics in several East African countries were found being sold in informal pharmacies and medicine vendors in West African countries,” the statement further says, adding that other “reports have been received since then, documenting additional instances of theft involving drugs and other malaria commodities…”
So, what is the U.S. government doing about this? Taking “programmatic and diplomatic steps to identify and combat theft and misappropriation of medicines,” according to the USAID announcement. Those who dare to read between the lines can deduct that no true action will ever be taken though USAID threatens to get tough “if there is repeated evidence of theft, corruption or fraud.”