- The Washington Times - Friday, July 16, 2010

The Kenyan president wants a new constitution, one that opens the door to abortion on demand. President Obama is willing to use U.S. taxpayer dollars to persuade voters to approve the updated governing document, which would loosen regulations designed to protect the unborn, establish Muslim family courts and create a right to homosexual marriage. It’s not unusual that Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki would see enactment of the provisions as a “government project,” but Mr. Obama is on shaky legal ground when he commits U.S. government resources to it.

On Aug. 4, Kenya’s 12.3 million registered voters will be asked a simple question: “Do you approve the proposed new constitution?” It is doubtful that many will have the opportunity to read the entire 206-page document, which was created by a committee of experts whose consultants and office equipment were bankrolled with $580,381 in grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Section 26 of the proposal explicitly allows a “trained health professional” to snuff the life of an unborn baby at any stage of a pregnancy. “It is a radical departure from existing law,” Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, told The Washington Times.

Under the Siljander Amendment, a provision of federal appropriations law, it is illegal to use foreign aid to “lobby for or against abortion.” The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi on Friday told the Associated Press that it had suspended or terminated nine grants, but it denied directly funding the referendum’s Yes campaign. Officials obviously were feeling congressional heat, asMr. Smith had obtained documents from USAID’s inspector general that identified $632,479.99 in federal grants whose explicit and direct purpose was rounding up affirmative votes.

For example, USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives provided $56,953.33 to the Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance for “one of a series of activities that aim to contribute to an ‘overrepresentation’ of the YES voters at the next referendum.” Broader grants that add up to $23 million went to groups whose activities USAID variously described as “polling,” “communications,” “voter registration,” “roadshows” and “advocacy targeting policy makers.” That means U.S. taxpayers paid the salaries of community organizers in Kenya for the purpose of changing the country’s stance on abortion.

“Do you know what kind of political campaign you can run with $23 million in Kenya, where you can buy even more with the dollar?” Mr. Smith asked. “If a foreign country came into New Jersey for a referendum and dropped $23 million for an outcome that I found antithetical to everything I believe in, I would be outraged.”

The outrage is compounded by the potential illegality of the conduct. That’s why a full investigation of the White House’s involvement in this matter is in order. The United States has an interest in promoting fair and open elections where all sides have the freedom to voice their opinion. The Obama administration has no business spending federal funds to promote the culture of death overseas, especially when such efforts are prohibited by law.