According to USAID regulations:
[Grants] must be free from political interference or even the appearance of such interference and must be made on the basis of merit, not on the basis of the religious affiliation of a recipient organization, or lack thereof.’
Pence’s spokeswoman, Katie Waldman, did not respond to questions. A USAID spokeswoman did not respond to specific questions, including those concerning Ferguson’s email, but said the latest grants were appropriate.
USAID spokeswoman, Pooja Jhunjhunwala noted:
‘The Trump Administration has made responding to the genocide committed by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) against religious and ethnic minorities a top priority. Assistance to religious and ethnic communities targeted by ISIS is not a departure from the norm, but rather a continuation of USAID’s rich history of promoting inclusive development and defending human dignity and religious freedom in our partner countries.’
Former State Department and USAID official under the President Barack Obama administration, Steven Feldstein said “when politics intrude in the grant-making process:
‘There are very deliberate procurement guidelines that have developed over a number of years to guard precisely against this kind of behavior. Youu’re diluting the very nature of what development programs ought to accomplish.’
When Donald Trump was at the Values Voter Summit, a primary event for the religious right, he bragged about the work his people were doing in support of religious minorities in both Iraq and Syria.
‘Other presidents would not be doing that. They’d be spending a lot more money, but they’d be spending it on things that would not make you very happy.’
Iraq is 97 percent Muslim. Religious minorities that Pence favored are among the two to three percent and included Christians, Yazidis, and others.
According to ProPublica:
‘The Trump administration’s efforts to influence USAID funding sparked concern from career officials, who worried the agency risked violating constitutional prohibitions on favoring one religion over another. They also were concerned that being perceived as favoring Christians could worsen Iraq’s sectarian divides.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.