Podesta Group lobbies Washington Post, New York Times, Politico, Roll Call, Foreign Policy, Guardian, Financial Times, Reuters, Washington Diplomat for Kenyatta Gov’t

Kenyan taxpayers paid The Podesta Group of Washington, DC for public relations/lobbying contacts with these media outlets on behalf of their Government in the first half of 2015.  The Podesta Group provided similar or related lobbying services at the same time for the governments of Azerbaijan, Myanmar, Iraq, India, and Vietnam, among various others, aside from their nongovernmental clients.

I’m certainly not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the Government of Kenya spending tax dollars on working media contacts when it isn’t paying teacher’s salaries or meeting basic human needs in health care, for instance.  After all, the United States and various multinational and other foreign donors can be counted on to spend their taxpayer dollars to help ameliorate the consequences of this choice by the Government of Kenya.


Meanwhile, back inside the Beltway . . .

Three Republican Congressmen have asked the Inspectors General of USAID and the State Department to investigate the notion that Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger and others are violating U.S. law prohibiting the use of foreign aid funds to lobby for or against abortion. The theory here is that activities supporting passage of a new Kenyan constitution constitute lobbying for abortion because the final proposed draft, which states that life begins at conception (unlike the current constitution) and makes abortion generally unconstitutional also has potentially ambiguous language that allows some “health of the mother” exception.

In other words, the proposed new Kenyan constitution is much more favorable from a pro-life perspective than the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court over the past thirty-plus years.

I remain convinced that Kenyans are wholly qualified to make up their own “hearts and minds” and cast their own votes. If we can avoid confusion and help the process of the vote itself that’s good. We don’t have a great track record, especially in the last election, and in the past in giving too much public and private support for too long to Moi. We should be humble and careful.

Jeffrey Gettleman has a rundown of the American culture wars, East African front, in the NYTimes.