Re-Purposing of US $100 M Defended by Susan Rice, Noone Else Paid
February 9 -- When US Ambassador Susan Rice came to the UN
Security Council stakeout late Wednesday morning, she was prepared to
about the Tax Equalization Fund, some of which Inner
City Press submitted to the US Mission Tuesday morning.
the House of
Representatives a proposal is being considered to get the $179
million owed to the US applied to future UN dues. At some date still
undisclosed, some US State Department official told the UN it could
keep $100 million for security upgrades in the Capital Master Plan
renovation, beyond the CMP security elements already approved by the
General Assembly, for which the US pays 22%.
asked Ambassador Rice who had approved this, and if any other country
would be contributing toward the $100 million in additional security.
said that the Obama Administration opposes the House legislation. She
cited Republican Congressman Peter King of Long Island as supporting
this position. Her answer implied that no other country is
contributing to the $100 million -- she spoke only about $79 million
of the $179 million being put toward UN dues. She did not say who had
approved the $100 million.
began asked what Ambassador Rice would say to those who now consider
the $179 million, or at least $78 million of it, to be a slush fund
-- Ambassador Rice asked, “Slush fund? There is no slush fund,”
and her spokesman moved on to another questioner. Transcript below.
Susan Rice at UN stakeout, Tax Equalization Fund not shown
the UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin
Nesirky who the UN had spoken to within the US government to conclude
that these $100 million could be spent, and if it had ever been
approved or presented to the UN General Assembly.
said, ask the State Department -- we have -- and said he would look
into whether there are other Capital Master Plan related funds that
have not been disclosed or voted on by the General Assembly.
explain why the $100 million was so urgent it could not go through
regular budgeting (and disclosure) procedures, Nesirky said to ask
the State Department.
City Press had asked Nesirky's office
within the Secretariat is responsible for spending this money?
General Assembly given its approval to this project? Is there a
mandate from the GA for this activity?
the referenced money “repurposed”? Did the US Mission or
State Department indicate how it could be repurposed? How? What other
countries have allowed extra budgetary money to be similarly
repurposed and how much?
reported when they are received. Watch this site.
US Mission to the UN's transcript:
Press: On Sudan, what do you make of this fighting in Malakal?
The army, there are several dozens of people who have been killed of
late, what does the US think of that? And I wanted to ask, on the Tax
Equalization Fund—there’s a dispute in the House about this $100
million that the State Department has told the UN it can use for
security improvements. Who approved that at the State Department and
are other countries going to be contributing to that, or is the US
paying the whole $100 million with no offset on the CMP payments?
Well, let me start with Malakal. Obviously we’re very
concerned about the violence in Malakal and along that border area.
This is a function, as you know, of the need for these units that
have been joint to now separate, and it is of concern that lives have
been lost and violence has occurred, and it underscores the need for
this process of disintegrating the joint units to be done carefully
and with some supervision.
turn now to the Tax Equalization Fund, and the application of
these credits. The legislation that is pending in the House today is
a piece of legislation the administration strongly opposes. And we do
so because it was the City of New York that underscored the vital
importance to US national security to enhance security—physical
security—in this structure, above and beyond what was originally
contemplated during the Capital Master Plan. We have thousands of New
Yorkers who pass through this building and under this building every
day. We have school children, we have members of the public, we have
the President of the United States, come in this building on a
regular basis. And the City of New York and the State Department and
the administration feel that it’s in our national interests and in
the interests of the people of New York that steps be taken swiftly
to upgrade the physical security of this building. And that is what
we have done, in coordination with the United Nations. That is also
why Representative Peter King—a New Yorker—who is chairman of the
Homeland Security Committee in the House, said very plainly yesterday
that this is a crucial commitment that we’ve made, one that should
be honored, and he opposes this legislation because it unwisely would
make that impossible.
just say also, Matt, we share, however, the spirit in which the
legislation is offered, which is to reduce the deficit and to address
the need for spending reductions. But the other portion of those
credits—the $79 million—will do just that, because we intend to
apply those to assessments that we would otherwise have to request
resources from Congress to pay. So this is a way of ensuring that we
are utilizing taxpayer dollars wisely.
Press: So it’s kind of a slush fund, there’s no approval?
Slush fund? No, there’s no slush fund.
* * *
Let UN Keep $100 M for Security, Who Decided, Will $78M Be Offset &
Other Countries Pay?
Russell Lee, Exclusive
February 9 -- Who approved the use of $100 million in
funds to pay for the entirety of a security project in the UN's
Capital Master Plan renovation?
As the battle to have the funds
returned heats up in the House of Representatives, the UN on
Wednesday belatedly answered some of the questions asked by Inner
Farhan Haq on February 9 e-mailed Inner City Press that “the
present discussion about additional security upgrades reflects
heightened security concerns by the Host Country and UN security
authorities. The US, under its Host Country obligations, is funding
these new security upgrades. The total anticipated cost of the new
security upgrades is $100 million.”
Mission to the UN has not responded in writing to questions Inner
City Press put to it, the position is that the UN approached the US
State Department to ask for $100 million from the $179 million which
otherwise would reduce the US' dues to the UN.
UN said that
the improvements, which have be tied in FP's
Cable blog to dangers
posed by car bombs on the FDR Drive, were urgent. The conference
rooms over the FDR Drive are currently empty, undergoing asbestos
abatement. It is hard to understand how merely reconfiguring the
rooms would cost $100 million, or be urgent.
even if it is
urgent, why is the US paying the whole $100 million, and not just the
$22 million that would represent its 22% share of CMP costs?
$78 million be subtracted from what the US would otherwise pay for
the rest of the CMP? Inner City Press recently asked the CMP about
contributions of $2 million and $1 million to the CMP from Norway and
were article the CMP had placed on the UN's
i-Seek web site. If the UN publicized $1 million from China, why no
secretive on $100 million from the US?
Hillary Clinton & UN Ban on Feb 5, $100 million not shown
understands that the decisions on this $100 million (or $179 million
) slush fund were made at a level above Assistant Secretary of State
Brinner. So should or will it be called Hillary's slush fund? Watch
that with the US trying to show it deals differently with the UN, it is
or was convenient to have $100 million in discretionary funds. But
there are questions about the approvals.
is what the
UN sent Inner City Press on the morning of February 9. Other
questions remain pending.
Spokesman [at] un.org
Date: Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 10:29
Subject: Re: Press questions II on Tax Equalization Fund
Matthew Russell Lee [at] InnerCityPress.com
questions on the tax equalization fund, we have the following
December 2009 audited accounts of the UN showed as balance due to
the United States of $179.0 million as of that date. The US levies
taxes on its nationals in respect of their UN earnings, and
reimburses the UN for the same. The balance represents the net
amount due to the United States after such reimbursements have been
taken into account. In some financial periods there is a surplus,
and in others a deficit. The net balance of $179.0 million has
accumulated since 1 January 1996.
improvements: The Capital Master Plan (CMP) already includes
a number of security improvements for the delegates, staff, and
visitors who work at or visit the premises. Those security
improvements have been designed after consultation with the Host
Country security authorities. They are covered by the budget of the
CMP, to which the U.S. contributes 22%, and which was approved by the
General Assembly in 2006. The present discussion about additional
security upgrades reflects heightened security concerns by the Host
Country and UN security authorities. The U.S., under its Host Country
obligations, is funding these new security upgrades.
anticipated cost of the new security upgrades is $100 million.
* * *