State Department watchdog urged to investigate preferential treatment claims

State Department watchdog urged to investigate preferential treatment claims
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A conservative-leaning watchdog organization is asking the State Department’s inspector general to open a probe into what it claims is “preferential treatment” given to the daughter of Secretary John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden's New Deal Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil MORE.

“We write today to request a full investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the apparent unethical acts and a determination of whether any laws were violated,” Matthew Whitaker, the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, wrote in a complaint to the inspector general’s office.

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The complaint on Tuesday cited a September story published by the Daily Caller News Foundation claiming that an organization created by Kerry’s daughter, Vanessa, was awarded $9 million in State Department contracts since 2012.

The organization, Seed Global Health, received the funding to operate a program sending health workers overseas in conjunction with the Peace Corps.

“The process can be fast tracked and non-competed through a specific grant mechanism,” the department said in minutes from a 2011 meeting obtained by the news outlet. 

“Not only does the contract itself indicate there was preferential treatment, but the fact that it was given without competition and years longer than normally allowed, further demonstrates the preferential treatment,” Whitaker claimed in his complaint.  

Officials with the State Department and nonprofit group have denied any conflict of interest.

Kerry was still a U.S. senator when the first contract was granted in 2012, but it was renewed in 2015, after he took the reins at the State Department.