The U.S. Agency for International Development — which has faced accusations of mismanagement and waste with its funding in Afghanistan — recently canceled a contract for “attractive visual images” about its work in the war-torn country.
The request — which the agency posted Monday — has since been taken off USAID’s website. But the agency called for “timely, attractive visual images,” noting that in Afghanistan “negative images flood both social and conventional media with little counter,” according to a cached Web page of the request.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction sorts through the more than $100 billion in funding the United States has allocated to reconstruction and relief efforts in the country. According to an audit released last month, USAID agreed to give direct assistance to seven Afghan ministries despite determining that “it could not rely on the ministries it assessed to manage donor funds without a host of mitigation measures in place.”
Donald Sampler Jr., USAID’s assistant to the administrator for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, said Monday that while the media provides an accurate — but limited — view of USAID’s work in the country, he expects “the reporting will continue to be somewhat negative.”
His comments echo the agency’s request for the photography proposals, which notes that “the overwhelming majority of pictures recording that effort are negative and at least to some extent misleading.”
The Web page doesn’t note how much an individual would be paid for the photographs.
A spokesman for USAID told USA Today that the photographs are supposed to “help inform Afghans about the assistance American taxpayers are providing,” but acknowledged that “the wording of the [request] did not appropriately articulate that purpose and is being reevaluated.”
What We're Following See More »
The cost of EpiPens have risen 400% since 2007, and members of Congress increasingly want to know why. Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Mylan, which makes the allergy injection devices, on Monday. “Many of the children who are prescribed EpiPens are covered by Medicaid, and therefore, the taxpayers are picking up the tab for this medication," he wrote. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) "called earlier for a Judiciary Committee inquiry into the pricing and an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission."
"The U.S. is considering providing military support for hundreds of Turkish-backed rebels massing at the border with Syria for a major offensive meant to sever Islamic State’s supply routes there, officials from both countries said." As Turkey looks to reestablish its military's credibility after the recent coup attempt there, the U.S. is considering providing intelligence and air support.
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.
Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.
Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”