Why did US send comedians to India: Senator asks John Kerry

Written by PTI | Washington | Updated: Apr 9 2014, 19:12pm hrs
Rand PaulAt this point of time, Kerry became curious when were the comedians sent to India. (Reuters)
A Republican Senator has questioned the utility of sending comedians to India at the expense of tax payer's money, at a time when the US is experiencing economic crunch.

The question was raised by Senator Rand Paul yesterday, during a hearing of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wherein Secretary of State John Kerry, testified on the foreign policy priorities for the year 2015.

"Throughout the six months preceding the attack on Benghazi, though, a lot of money was spent on things that I think most Americans would say are frivolous and maybe not part of the immediate mission of the State Department," Paul said.

"A hundred thousand dollars was spent on sending comedians to India. It was the 'Make Chai Not War' tour. A hundred thousand dollars was spent getting electrical charging station in Vienna for the ambassador so he could green up the embassy," the Senator said.

"USD 650,000 was spent on Facebook ads. These are all State Department expenses. USD 700,000 was spent on landscaping for the embassy in Brussels. Five million dollars was spent on crystal wineglasses and crystal glassware, bar ware for the State Department, for embassies," he said.

Paul said, one could argue the legitimacy of these, but it was hard to argue that in the face of the disaster in Benghazi, and it was hard to argue this in the face of, people say, "we didn't have enough money".

At this point of time, Kerry became curious when were the comedians sent to India.

Three American comedians - Rajiv Satyal, Azhar Usman and Hari Kondabolu - travelled to India for their thought- provoking show 'Make Chai Not War' to seven cities in India, in January 2012.

Paul has raised the same issue in the past too.