James Comer (R-KY), the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has a message that Joe Biden should save all his receipts in his letter on American Ukraine aid. The letter, according to Real Clear Politics, called for the administration to turn over all material “regarding any economic assistance programs for the Ukrainian government” as well as any material on “any anti-corruption efforts” in Ukraine. The letter was addressed to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
As Comer notes that providing “security and humanitarian assistance for warfighting and reconstruction purposes comes with an inherent risk of fraud, waste, and abuse” and the development of effective oversight on such assistance is warranted. He further called for any material that determines or measures “any benchmarks for success” for the aid programs and what are the conditions, if any, that are “imposed on funds provided as assistance to Ukraine.” Additionally, Comer specifically wanted answers on how the administration’s policy of tracking the serial numbers of the weapons and ammunition provided to Ukraine is shaping out.
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The Kentucky Republican further tweeted his rationale for the letter. He wrote “Congress has provided Ukraine more than $113 billion for security, humanitarian, and economic assistance. It is critical that government agencies administering these funds ensure they are used for their intended purposes to prevent the risk of waste, fraud, & abuse.”
🚨Congress has provided Ukraine more than $113 billion for security, humanitarian, and economic assistance.
It is critical that government agencies administering these funds ensure they are used for their intended purposes to prevent the risk of waste, fraud, & abuse.👇 https://t.co/03bEQRVUVR
— Rep. James Comer (@RepJamesComer) February 22, 2023
A similar sentiment was tweeted by the Oversight Committee.
The United States has sent $113,000,000,000 in aid to Ukraine.
It’s time for the White House to turn over the receipts to ensure U.S. taxpayer dollars aren’t being lost to waste, fraud, or abuse. https://t.co/D1GSW70Jpp
— Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) February 22, 2023
Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who sits on the Oversight Committee, responded to this tweet by writing that oversight is needed and that there were “No more blank checks!”
No more blank checks! https://t.co/xAErnI3LPA
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) February 22, 2023
Real Clear Politics gives the background of concern for Comer on why aid to Ukraine may be abused. They write that “the former Eastern Bloc country has a history of struggling with government fraud and graft. They regularly rank toward the bottom of international corruption indexes, a track record that has even ardent supporters of the defensive war worried…Congress has appropriated $113 billion in economic and security aid to Ukraine since Russian tanks rolled across the border. Over the course of two decades, by comparison, the U.S. spent $146 billion to send military and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.”
The letter itself notes various discrepancies between the White House insistence that there were no signs that any aid “has fallen prey to any kind of corruption in Ukraine” and Zelensky’s recent anti-corruption purge.
The letter gave the Biden administration a deadline of March 8, 2023, to respond.