As Biden Visited Europe, the House Oversight Chief Sent His Admin a Demand Regarding Ukraine
With the Russia-Ukraine war still raging after nearly a year, House Republicans are demanding the Biden administration provide documentation of all the funds the U.S. has provided for the conflict.
Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and 22 other Republicans on the panel signed a letter to administration officials Wednesday seeking “documents and information” showing how the Defense and State departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development are conducting oversight of these funds.
The letter was addressed to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and USAID Administrator Samantha Power.
President Joe Biden vowed Monday during his surprise trip to Ukraine that the U.S. would send support to the country for “as long as it takes.”
Since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, the United States “has provided more than $113 billion for security, humanitarian, economic, and governance assistance,” the Oversight Committee Republicans’ letter said.
“It is critical that government agencies administering these funds ensure they are used for their intended purposes to prevent and reduce the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse,” the lawmakers wrote.
Comer and the Republicans on the committee demanded the White House turn over its receipts regarding aid sent to Ukraine.
Specifically, it asked the White House for all documents and communications regarding:
• “[S]trategies for end-use monitoring of weapons, equipment, direct budgeting assistance, and any other form of economic or security assistance for the Ukrainian people.”
• “[A]ny anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.”
• “[H]ow much money has been disbursed for Ukrainian assistance and how much remains in the spending pipeline.”
• “[A]ny economic assistance programs for the Ukrainian government.”
• “[F]unds given to multilateral organizations for the purpose of Ukrainian assistance and any information regarding any oversight mechanisms with respect to those organizations.”
• “[A]ny benchmarks for success of programs funded by assistance to Ukraine.”
• “[A]ny conditions imposed on funds provided as assistance to Ukraine.”
RealClearPolitics, which first reported on the letter, said this will be “the most comprehensive audit of the war effort to date.”
Much of the focus is on ensuring U.S. aid to Ukraine goes where it is intended in a nation with a history of rampant corruption.
“Providing security and humanitarian assistance for warfighting and reconstruction purposes comes with an inherent risk of fraud, waste, and abuse,” the letter said.
Republicans may have a good reason for concern despite assurances from National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby on Jan. 25 that no U.S. financial resources had “fallen prey to any kind of corruption in Ukraine.”
As the letter mentioned, Kirby’s comments came one day after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fired several officials amid a corruption scandal.
The GOP lawmakers wrote that the “U.S. National Security Council appears unaware of this corruption scandal, heightening concerns that U.S. agencies are not conducting oversight of taxpayer assistance to Ukraine.”
The letter also argued that sending such a massive amount of money in such a short time opens the door to fraud.
“Unrealistic timelines and expectations that prioritize spending quickly lead to increased corruption,” it said.
Oversight Committee Letter by The Western Journal
The Oversight Committee Republicans gave the Biden administration officials until March 8 to respond to their request.
Ukrainian officials have assured Western critics that all is well and that aid is finding its way to the proper places.
“We are absolutely clean when it comes to the use of resources provided to us by our partners,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said last week in an interview with CNBC. “This is why we so openly and quickly agreed to step up to receive this delegation permission from the United States that is overviewing the use of resources.”
“We have nothing to hide,” Kuleba said. “We are absolutely, absolutely open and transparent on that. There will always be people who will be claiming corruption and making various points pursuing one goal: to decrease the level of support to Ukraine.”
Speaker Kevin McCarthy warned last year, before the midterm elections, that under GOP leadership, the House would not provide a “blank check” to the former eastern bloc country.
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