"Has some money been stolen? Absolutely." – John Kerry, Secretary of State
On Thursday, during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Senator Rand Paul asked the $250 Million Dollar question that Americans have been waiting for an answer to:
"Thank you, Secretary Kerry, for coming today. You mention in your remarks that we don't need politicians to go home and say that we need to end foreign aid and spend that money at home. Well, this might come as news to one of the most prominent politicians in our country who said in his re-election campaign that we need to do less nation building abroad and more nation building at home, and that would be your current boss, the President of the United States. So I don't think this is unique to Republicans or Democrats. In fact I think this crosses all party lines. It is not me going home and creating an atmosphere where people are doubtful of foreign aid. It's that 80 to 90 percent are doubtful.
We have two bridges in my state that are over 50 years old. The President came, and I flew down with him, to talk about re-building them. I'm in favor of replacing bridges and rebuilding our infrastructure. But at the same time, we seem to not have enough money to keep the doors open around here, not enough money to keep the touring of the White House open. This Administration sent and extra $250 million to Egypt. Many of us find that offensive.
We cannot even run the basic functions of government, and yet we send an extra $250 million in addition to the $2 billion we already send over there. So, many of us are offended by this. The question I have for you is, the Mubarak family is said to be worth more than $10 billion dollars. Most people say that a lot of that money came from our foreign aid.
Mobutu ruled for many, many years in Central Africa. He was said to be worth millions upon millions, if not billions of dollars. His wife was called "Gucci" Mobutu. She was famous for going to Paris and shopping for shoes with a Louis Vuitton bag full of $500,000 in cash to $1 million in cash. That money was looted from the American Treasury. There are all kinds of examples of theft and kleptocracy. There's examples of our foreign aid being used to buy tear gas in Egypt and used to spray on the Egyptian people. So I don't think it even buys the good will of the people because often it's stolen by their leaders who are unpopular in their country. So I think it's often counterproductive. But I think we are missing the boat here if you think that we're stoking the fires and that the people don't already believe this.
This is something that is already in the psyche of the people. People are upset about it and would rather spend money at home. But, I'd like your comments on the President's position but also on the idea that a lot of foreign aid has been stolen by these leaders."
Kerry's full response can be seen and heard on the attached video but at one point The Secretary of State admitted, "Has some money been stolen? Absolutely."
Senator Paul went on to question Kerry about our official position in Syria. Full contents of the exchange can be seen in this video or accessed through Rand Paul's Senate Website.