Conservatives Push For Transparency on Ukraine Funding After Some Republicans Expressed Renewed ‘Support’ to Ukraine
After a delegation of Republicans reiterated their “support to give Ukraine everything that it needs” to fight Russia on Tuesday, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) and 22 House Republicans on Wednesday demanded transparency from federal agencies on billions of taxpayer dollars flowing to Ukraine, a non-NATO country.
More than $113 billion in funding from US tax payers has already been set aside to support Ukraine in its confrontation with Russia, a war rooted on long-standing territorial disputes that date back to World War II.
“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 23 House members wrote. They added: “The Committee seeks documents and information to understand how the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of State (State), and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) are conducting oversight of these funds.”
The members justified their audit by pointing to current corruption in Ukraine. In spite of American assistance, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed a number of top officials for reportedly accepting bribes, using official cars for personal use, and buying inflated food supplies for the Ukrainian military.
One day after the firing of the officials, U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby claimed he didn’t find “signs that our budgetary assistance has fallen prey to any kind of corruption in Ukraine,” and that all direct budgeted assistance “goes through the World Bank.”
“I would go so far as to say the same on the security assistance side as well,” Kirby stated on January 25, 2023.
In the letter, conservative House Republicans dissented against Kirby’s claims. “Based on Mr. Kirby’s remarks, however, 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 call for transparency comes as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and four Republican House members expressed support for Zelensky’s choice to forgo peace negotiations while in Ukraine on Tuesday.
Zelensky argued before the senators that the American taxpayers should pony up extra cash to buy the expensive F-16 fighter jets and longer-range artillery that are on his wish list.
“We talked primarily about what [Zelensky’s] needs are when it comes to winning this war,” McCaul said. “We have strong bipartisan support to give Ukraine everything that it needs to win.”