The United Nations Money Pit
The United Nations Money Pit
The United Nations is a giant money pit that swallows American taxpayer’s dollars annually. In 2010 the U.S. taxpayers dumped about $7.7 billion into this black hole of programs with simply no transparency or accountability. This represents over 30% of the United Nations’ budget while the other 192 member states generously contribute an average of about $9 million each.
Despite our obvious generosity, the United Nations authorities are playing a shell game and attempting to stonewall us from auditing their books. In less than a decade the UN “core” budget has doubled from $2.7 billion in 2001-2002 to $5.4 billion in 2010-2011. This by the way is only a small part of the UN’s budget.
In Washington, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) wants to reform the United Nations and give us some transparency into their spending practices. She has introduced a bill called the United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act in an effort to get some accountability for the billions that the U.S. taxpayers gives the organization annually.
However, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen has met some stiff resistance from the White House and the Clinton State Department. Despite the logic of her bill, it does not have a single Democrat sponsor. The word in the Congress is that the White House has urged Democrats not to join with Ros-Lehtinen.
Ros-Lehtinen wants to change the way dues are collected. Currently, they are assessments that require the U.S. taxpayers to pony up billions of dollars on an annual basis. Her bill would change that to voluntary contributions. Her goal is to curb the excessive spending at the UN.
In recent years the United Nations has been the generator of several significant scandals. Ros-Lehtinen specifically pointed out the notorious ‘Goldstone Report.’ That report incorrectly accused Israel of attacks on Palestinians during Operation Cast Lead. In fact, one of the authors of the report has said that the conclusions were incorrect (see above link).
Then we have the whole Oil-for-Food scandal that occurred during the Clinton administration. As Claudia Rosett pointed out in The Wall Street Journal, the U.N. oversaw ‘a flow of funds averaging at least $15 billion a year, more than five times the U.N.’s core annual budget.’
Oil-for-Food was administered by 10 U.N. agencies employing over 1,000 staff internationally and in New York, as well as 3,000 Iraqi nationals. The U.N. collected a 2.2 percent commission on every barrel of oil sold, generating more than $1 billion in revenue.”
There was never any accountability of the funds. The Heritage Foundation said, “The identity of the banks holding the Iraqi funds was kept secret. Oil-for-Food became a cash cow for the U.N. and a lucrative source of contracts for Russian and French companies. The Times of London calculated that from 1996 to 2003, Russian companies received $7.3 billion of business through Oil-for-Food, and French firms earned $3.7 billion.”
In February, Republicans sought the return of millions of US dollars overpaid to the UN Tax Equalization Fund. Democrats defeated the bill as leftwingers like Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Xavier Becerra (Calif.), Corrine Brown (Fla.), Maxine Waters (Calif.) and the scandal-plagued Anthony Weiner all voted ‘no.’ Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who is also chair of the Democratic National Committee, also voted ‘no.’