Some Republicans call for transparency on Ukraine’s $113 billion funding
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and 22 House Republicans on Wednesday demanded transparency from federal agencies about the billions of taxpayer dollars flowing into Ukraine, a non-member country. NATO, after a delegation of Republicans renewed Tuesday “support to be given to Ukraine”. everything she needs” to fight Russia.
American taxpayers have so far earmarked more than $113 billion in aid for Ukraine’s fight against Russia, a conflict based on decades of territorial claims dating back to World War II.
“It is critical that government agencies administering these funds ensure they are used for their intended purpose to prevent and reduce the risk of waste, fraud and abuse,” the 23 House members wrote. “The Committee is seeking documents and information to understand how the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of State (State), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) control these funds.”
Members cited recent corruption in Ukraine as a reason for conducting their audit. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has fired numerous senior officials under US aid for allegedly committing bribes, using government vehicles for personal use and purchasing inflated food supplies for Ukrainian forces.
A day after the officials were fired, the US National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, said he had seen “no signs that our budget support was falling prey to any form of of corruption in Ukraine”, and that all budgeted direct aid “goes through the World Bank”.
“I would go so far as to say the same on the security assistance side,” Kirby said on January 25, 2023.
#NEW Two N’s. #Texas members of Congress, @SelfForCongress & @RepEllzeyare part of a delegation to meet @ZelenskyyUa in Kyiv. Another Texan, @RepMcCaul, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, leading the delegation. The meeting comes later @POTUS Biden’s unexpected visit to Ukraine. @CBSDFW pic.twitter.com/FaGXuqW6vr
—Jack Fink (@cbs11jack) February 21, 2023
In the letter, conservative House Republicans pushed back against Kirby’s claims. “Based on Mr. Kirby’s remarks, however, the U.S. National Security Council does not appear to be aware of this corruption scandal, heightening concerns that U.S. agencies are not monitoring the taxpayer aid to Ukraine.”
The demand for transparency comes as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and four Republican House members traveled to Ukraine on Tuesday, professing their support for Zelensky’s decision not to negotiate a peace deal.
Zelensky told lawmakers that US taxpayers should spend more money to fill his wish list with military items, including longer-range artillery and expensive F-16 fighter jets.
“We mainly talked about this [Zelensky’s] needs are when it comes to winning this war,” McCaul said. “We have strong bipartisan support to give Ukraine everything it needs to win.”
Follow Wendell Husebo on Twitter @WendellHusebo. He is the author of Politics of slave morality.