ProPublica Examines U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s Influence On Foreign Aid Distribution

ProPublica: How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Groups
“…Decisions about U.S. aid are often no longer being governed by career professionals applying a rigorous review of applicants and their capabilities. Over the last two years, political pressure, particularly from the office of Vice President Mike Pence, had seeped into aid deliberations and convinced key decision-makers that unless they fell in line, their jobs could be at stake. … ProPublica viewed internal emails and conducted interviews with nearly 40 current and former U.S. officials and aid professionals that shed new light on the success of Pence and his allies in influencing the government’s long-standing process for awarding foreign aid. Most people spoke on the condition of anonymity. 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. … USAID regulations state that awards ‘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’…” (Torbati et al., 11/6).