The Obama administration during the partial government shutdown concealed a plan to funnel millions into yet another project in Afghanistan, where U.S. taxpayers are helping farmers grow wheat instead of illicit crops used in narcotics production.
Iranians and Pakistanis could particularly benefit from the endeavor, according to contracting documents U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor discovered via routine database research.
The U.S. Agency for International Development explicitly identified Iran and Pakistan as long-time recipients of food products exported from the targeted provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Zabul, which likewise have helped satisfy Afghanistan’s nationwide food requirements.
The Monitor’s discovery of USAID’s purported oversight in public disclosure comes at a time when President Obama and his supporters have escalated their rhetoric about the shutdown’s impact on the nation’s financial and political stability.
Just as Obama was casting blame on Republicans for attempting to wreck the U.S. economy, USAID simultaneously failed to notify the American public, as required by government regulations, of its $125 million award to contracting behemoth Chemonics International.
Chemonics secured the award Oct. 7, at the end of Week One of the budgetary stalemate among both houses of Congress and the White House.
USAID did not publish the award notice until Oct. 17, the day Obama signed the bill to end the partial shutdown and raise the federal debt ceiling.
The agency, however, did not attempt to blame the delay on the shutdown nor could it realistically attempt to do so, as the FedBizOpps online contracting system was fully operational during that period.
Rather, the agency offered an uncertain excuse for its procrastination, claiming a “systems integration and/or transmission error resulted that the award notice was not posted.”
USAID admitted it should have publicly announced the award “on or before” Oct. 10
Chemonics will carry out the Regional Agricultural Development Program, or RADP-South initiative, “to improve food and economic security for rural Afghans in the targeted areas.”
“This sustainable agricultural development program will support the consolidation of licit economies to fuel economic growth, including providing alternatives to poppy cultivation,” according the project’s Statement of Work.
As this writer reported for WND, the U.S. Trade & Development Agency – an independent White House agency – offered to pay a consultant $300,000 to guide Kenyan and other East African power companies on how to tap into Obama’s multi-billion-dollar Power Africa scheme.
The administration slipped in the contract one day prior to the shutdown.
Five days later, Obama separately released plans to make available up to $50 million in giveaways to the energy industry and foreign aid recipients, the Monitor now has discovered.
USTDA intends to award indefinite quantity/indefinite delivery, or IDIQ, contracts worldwide “to respond quickly to U.S. business interests and foreign project sponsor needs in the energy sector.”
Despite its global reach, the Multiple-Award Energy Sector Planning Services IDIQ initiative admittedly will place “particular emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa,” USTDA said.
USTDA is the same entity, as this writer also reported for WND last month, that is spending $100,000 to create a manual to teach Mexican officials and U.S. corporate welfare recipients how to get more money from the U.S. government.
While USTDA arguably is a relatively small agency – its FY 2014 budget request is just under $63 million – it consistently undergoes criticism along with calls for closure. Former Republican Rep. Ron Paul and free-market think tanks such as the Cato Institute regularly denounce it as among the most duplicative and wasteful of all federal entities.
USTDA consequently represents one of the most egregious examples of “corporate welfare waste,” the Cato Institute concluded in a 2005 report. These and similar organizations “should be terminated,” contended the report’s author, Chris Edwards.
This article originally was published Oct. 24, 2013 via WND. Under agreement with the publisher, rights have reverted back to the copywrite holder, Steve Peacock.