Thursday, July 22, 2010

OBAMA WATCH CENTRAL Congressman: Obama buying votes in Kenya Pumping $23 million into measure advancing abortion, Islamic law

The Obama administration is buying votes in Kenya, charges Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health.

WND reported Monday the Obama administration has funded $23 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars through the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, to support the passage of a Kenyan constitutional referendum Aug. 4 that would increase access to abortions and authorize the operation of Islamic law tribunals in the East African nation.

In a statement issued by his office yesterday, Smith charged that several Kenyan groups receiving USAID money had been given specific quotas built into their USAID contracts requiring the grantees to each produce 20,000 "yes" votes for the Aug. 4 referendum.

"A chart produced by USAID's inspector-general shows that 60 sub-recipients got funds for activities that include transportation, fuel, road shows, voter ID and 'yes' vote 'buy in' for professional elites," Smith said.

"It is unconscionable that U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing a massive one-sided political campaign thinly disguised as 'civic education' in another sovereign nation," the congressman said. "It is a very bad precedent and it is illegal."

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In a separate development, President Obama's ties with convicted federal felon Tony Rezko and his continued involvement in politics in Kenya have surfaced once again in the on-going effort of key Democrats, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., to arrange a public-private bailout for failed ShoreBank Corp. in Chicago.

The developing ShoreBank controversy also has a Kenyan tie to Obama.

ShoreBank connections to Kenya

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week extended until Aug. 6 the deadline for ShoreBank Corp. to win $75 million from the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. That amount would buttress a $150 million commitment made by an investor group that includes some of the biggest names in U.S. finance, such as Goldman Sachs, GE and Bank of America, to produce the capital needed for federal regulators to allow the bank to stay open.

ShoreBank is controversial for ties that extend back to letters then-attorney Obama wrote to support real estate development projects for Rezko in 1998.

ShoreBank is currently running on its website a link to an ABC-7 television report broadcast in 2006 during then-Sen. Obama's taxpayer-funded Senate visit to Kenya that showed Obama in Kenya promoting ShoreBank's microfinance program in Kenya.

Stanley Ann Dunham, Obama's mother, at the end of her career worked in Indonesia in a microfinance program financed by the Ford Foundation.

Peter Geithner, the father of the treasury secretary, headed the Ford Foundation microfinance programs in Asia at the time.

Obama, Rezko and ShoreBank

ShoreBank has received special attention from the Treasury Department because its involvement financing home loans to low-income borrowers allowed the bank to be classified as one of 800 "community development financial institutions."

A report by the Wall Street Journal revealed that ShoreBank troubles also stem from loans made to fund condominium development in geographical areas outside the bank's traditional focus on Chicago's South Side.

Chicago Sun Times reporter Tim Novak documented in 1998 that then-attorney Obama wrote two separate letters, each dated Oct. 28, 1998, to Chicago and Illinois state housing officials to support New Kenwood LLC, a Rezko corporation, in its application to build a 97-unit apartment building for senior citizens at 48th and Cottage Grove in Chicago.

According to a report by the in 2007, Howard Stanback, who had ties as a ShoreBank board member, was chairman of the Woods Fund when Obama served on the Woods Fund board.

The Woods Fund made investment of $1 million to Neighborhood Rejuvenation Partners, a group reputedly linked to New Kenwood, fulfilling a request made by Allison Davis, the former head of the Chicago law firm where Obama worked when he wrote the two letters in question.

Although the connections are complicated, Stanbeck and Davis each had financial interests in Rezko's New Kenwood LLC, to the extent that Davis reportedly collected some $700,000 in management fees involved with the senior citizen apartment building at 48th and Cottage Grove.

ShoreBank has never disclosed whether Obama was compensated for the microfinance project that the bank launched in Kenya.

Last month, the White House issued a denial that White House officials had met with ShoreBank regarding support measures for the bank or that the White House had pressured potential financial partners such as Goldman Sachs, GE or Bank of America to provide financial assistance to ShoreBank.