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Global Fund's Finances Under Fire

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 28, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "'Factor' Follow-up" segment tonight: As we reported earlier this week, a charity called the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is having some problems with corruption. According to their own audits, a substantial amount of money donated to some African countries has been flat-out stolen.

Now, this charity is heavily supported by Bill and Melinda Gates to the tune of $100 million a year, as well as Bono. And it has raised millions of dollars from corporations, as well as getting taxpayer money. In fact, the USA has pledged $10 billion to the Global Fund.

Joining us now from Los Angeles, Bobby Shriver, the co-founder of (RED), which has raised $160 million for the Global Fund. First of all, Mr. Shriver, I'm sorry about your father who died recently. He was a patriot. We appreciate you taking the time this evening in the wake of that.

BOBBY SHRIVER, CO-FOUNDER OF (RED): Thank you.

O'REILLY: So, what do you think about this audit coming on the heels of the Haitian chaos, where more than a million people remain homeless a year after the earthquake despite all the money that was pledged? Some Americans are being -- are getting hesitant to donate anymore.

SHRIVER: I think that's a bad comparison actually, Mr. O'Reilly. I don't think that the Global Fund's work in the world has anything to do with the kind of things that are going on in Haiti. As you mentioned, this inspector general was the Global Fund's own person, so they publish this information about themselves. This was not discovered by anybody. It's not being swept under the rug, and they expected this.

When Bill and Melinda Gates, as you mentioned, have given actually now about $1 billion to this entity, they were very careful, as was Bono, my colleague in (RED) and my colleague in the ONE campaign. We have a couple of different activities together. We were very careful to study this structure of this organization, in particular, their auditing standards. They have the most transparent and open accounting system in the world. All these stealing of money is on their website, and it's available to everybody. It's just not possible to work in any part of the world, including here in Los Angeles, and not expect some amount of fraud and stealing to go on.

O'REILLY: That's a decent point. But when you have a country like Mauritania, and a lot of the African countries in which the Global Fund operates, having no infrastructure at all, very little accountability, it's very difficult once the money gets to the ground in those countries. And I disagree with you, I think the Haitian situation is parallel to this because you have the World Bank distributing the money. The World Bank is in D.C. OK. So you get the money, you raise the money, it goes to the World Bank. It's in D.C. Everything is fine. Then it's got to go across the Atlantic Ocean to Africa, and that's where the problems are, and nobody can really stop it.

SHRIVER: Well, actually, there are many places where there are no problems whatsoever. And I've just point out that when we started this work back in the year 2000, when President Bush came into office, there were about 40,000 people in all of Africa on anti-retroviral medicine, which is the medicine that stops the spread of HIV. Now, there are 6.5 million. Most of that has been paid for by PEPFAR, President Bush's AIDS initiative, and by the Global Fund. Many people, Mr. O'Reilly, said that could not be done. They have been proven wrong.

O'REILLY: All right. So what you are saying to me is that that greater good…

SHRIVER: It works.

O'REILLY: …the greater good that the Fund is doing and that is an astonishing statistic.

(CROSSTALK)

SHRIVER: It's not even the greater good. It's a little bit of good.

O'REILLY: All right.

SHRIVER: This is the same child. This costs 30 cents a day. I have been showing this around your office here in Los Angeles. I think many people were kind of stunned to see these pictures. This is the same woman. She has gotten this pill twice a day, the same pills that Magic Johnson takes twice a day, for 30 cents a day. There are 6.5 million people alive today in the developing world that owe their life to this. They will be supporters of America. This is the best buy for a relatively paltry sum of money that the United States made in the last 10 years.

O'REILLY: All right. Last question.

SHRIVER: Last question? We are just getting fired up here.

O'REILLY: OK.

SHRIVER: All right.

O'REILLY: Is there anything that your fund, the Global Fund, can do to cut down on the graft and dishonesty? Is there anything that you have come up with that you can do?

SHRIVER: They are doing it. They have five different levels of accounting and auditing in this system. This is the most aggressively cutting down entity in the world, and that's why it's not similar to Haiti. This organization has been set up now for eight years. They have a lot of experience on the ground. A lot of the Haitian organizations were set up in response to the earthquake and, naturally, at the beginning some mistakes were made. But this organization also changes itself. They have added -- the Global Fund people have added new accounting measures as they've gone forward. So they are learning a lot on the ground everyday.

O'REILLY: I appreciate…

SHRIVER: I hope your viewers will keep this in mind. This is what we are all working for, and we hope you'll come to Africa and see this work with us and become a supporter of the fund…

O'REILLY: OK.

SHRIVER: It's one of the most amazing international mechanisms there is.

O'REILLY: Well, we appreciate you stepping up and explaining the totality of it all, Mr. Shriver, and thanks very much.

SHRIVER: The totality and the detailed accounting that they already have in place, which is fantastic. All on their website, I might add.

O'REILLY: All right.

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