Former president Barack Obama was very busy his last year in office. From jet setting around the country campaigning for Hillary Clinton, to fast tracking predominantly Muslim refugees into the United States, to showering the United Nations with billions of tax payers money.
In its last year in office, the Obama Administration showered at least some $9.2 billion on the United Nations and its sprawling array of organizations, according to a document recently posted on the State Department website, according to this Fox News exclusive report.
The total is gleaned from a document that summarizes U.S. government spending for international organizations, and is about 20 per cent higher than the $7.7 billion figure given out by State for 2010, before the Obama Administration abruptly quit providing any overall tally for its U.N. support.
The overall U.S. bill for international organizations of every stripe is just under $10.5 billion, meaning that U.N. organizations absorb about 88 per cent of such U.S. government spending.
The new tally includes nearly $360 million for the controversial United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, which is regularly accused of inculcating violent anti-Israel attitudes and even abetting terrorist attacks on Israel, which it strongly denies.
That is nearly a 50 per cent jump over the $238.3 million UNRWA got from the U.S. in 2010.
Last week, the Trump Administration froze a last-minute, $221 million donation by the Obama Administration that was intended for the Palestinian Authority.
The UNRWA numbers, along with all the rest of the U.N. donations, are likely to come under fierce scrutiny in the weeks ahead, both from the Trump Administration, which wants to take a tough look at aligning its U.N. spending with national interests, and from Congress, which is frustrated by U.N. bloat and inefficiency, and often maddened by its anti-Israel biases.
But from a U.S. point of view, “there is a new sheriff in town,” noted Robert Wexler, a former Democratic congressman from Florida and a U.N. supporter who testified on Feb. 1 , along with some sharp U.N. critics, before a subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Relations Committee.
The hearing focused on the U.N.’s anti-Israel biases, and specifically on UNRWA, whose recent alleged misdeeds were laid out in detail by Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based U.N. Watch, who told the legislators that “the U.S. Congress is the one reliable force that can hold the U.N. to account.”
That is, if the figures they see can be believed. Critics are already noting that the State Department figures for U.N. support are less than the full story – at least $500 million in contributions to the U.N. sponsored Green Climate Fund, which Congress had opposed, are missing—and State itself admits that “not all Executive Branch agencies provided information for inclusion in this report.”
With the Green Climate Fund money included, the 2016 figure would amount to a nearly 26 per cent hike in U.N. support over 2010 levels. Another $500 million donation to the Green Climate Fund was also blocked at the last minute by the Trump Administration.
“This report was probably put together in hurried fashion,” observes Brett Schaefer, an expert on U.N. funding at the conservative Heritage Foundation. He notes that its appearance was likely prompted by a congressional spending resolution last December that demanded such figures once again be made public.
The State Department website now includes similarly disorganized spending numbers for 2015—when overall spending on international organizations hit $10.8 billion—and links to more organized reports on spending that stretch back to 2007.
Whatever the truth of the numbers, all of that money is likely to come under the skeptical microscope of the Trump Administration, which is contemplating a tough review of any U.N. spending that it deems outside the national interest—including steep cuts to “voluntary” funding beyond U.S. dues-paying minimums.
Read the full story at Fox News.