Secretary of State John Kerry lauded a program run by his daughter’s nonprofit as he announced an extension of its non-competitively awarded Department of State funding in 2014, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
“What we’re talking about here is a multi-million dollar effort that will strengthen the capacity of healthcare workers to deliver lifesaving HIV services,” Kerry said in December, 2014, at a World AIDS Day event. “[I]t will build on the Global Health Service Partnership with Peace Corps and Seed Global Health.”
The 2014 comments appear to conflict with more recent Department of State claims that Kerry “played no role” in official decisions to funnel more than $9 million in sole-source contracts with the nonprofit that recruits volunteer doctors and nurses to medical schools in Third World countries.
The $9 million went to Seed Global Health – a nonprofit founded and managed by Dr. Vanessa Kerry – through the Peace Corps. The funds were awarded under the Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) that Kerry’s daughter created in conjunction with officials from both agencies. The agencies then funded the nonprofit organization they helped bring into being.
The GHSP program began in 2012 while Vanessa’s father was a Democratic senator from Massachusetts and chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. That panel oversees both the Department of State and the Peace Corps.
Peace Corps and Seed officials discussed the expansion throughout 2015, until the nonprofit was awarded a four-year extension for $6.4 million of Department of State money in September, documents obtained by TheDCNF show.
That was the second Department of State-funded award the Peace Corps gave Seed without competition. It also extended the nonprofit’s work with the Peace Corps to a seven-year total, which violates an agency policy that limits contracts to five years.
Meanwhile, the Department of State argued that Kerry was not involved with the awards.
“There is absolutely no conflict of interest here,” agency spokesman John Kirby told TheDCNF Thursday. “As we have previously made clear, Secretary Kerry played no role in this decision making while in the Senate or subsequently while at the State Department.”
“No conflict of interest exists in our partnership with Peace Corps and the US government,” Seed spokesman Mark Marino previously told TheDCNF.