Senate Democrats quash bid to create audit office for Ukraine aid
What are they hiding?
That's about all one can ask now that Democrats have quashed two measures to set up an independent Ukraine aid auditing office under one audit umbrella.
According to Fox News, the plan was this:
Amid the Democratic-controlled Senate’s ongoing National Defense Spending Authorization Act (NDAA) talks, GOP Sens. Josh Hawley, James Risch, Roger Wicker and John Kennedy drafted an amendment to create an exclusive Ukraine spending oversight office, led by the president’s choice.
...and according to the New York Post, it got this:
Senate Democrats banded together Wednesday night to oppose the creation of a new office to audit US military assistance for Ukraine as part of a provision in the annual defense spending bill.
Forty-five Democrats — including every member of the Senate Armed Services Committee — voted down an amendment to establish an Office of the Lead Inspector General for Ukraine Assistance as part of the fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
If passed, it would have allotted $10 million from the NDAA’s $886 billion budget toward the creation of a 30-person inspector general’s office.
A second proposal, which might have been an even better one, was to transfer the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction auditor's office to Ukraine, meaning, the guys inspecting how the Ukraine cash is spent would be the same experienced professionals who monitored Afghanistan and would not be appointed by Joe Biden. That, too, was rejected. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has called for audits from the start, favored that one.
The U.S. has already shelled out either $113 billion or $192 billion in aid to the beleaguered country, depending on the source, with no significant oversight.
Why anyone could oppose these measures is beyond reason, and suggests something funny is going on, such as protecting war-profiteering Democrats, or worst still, potential corruption from Hunter and Joe Biden.
Polls show that the American public is certainly in favor of such oversight.
But according to this report from Voice of America, not everyone is:
... there has been pushback from the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House.
The Defense Department Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office "are currently undertaking multiple investigations regarding every aspect of this assistance — from assessing the [Defense Department's] processes for developing security assistance requirements to evaluating the end-use monitoring processes for delivered assistance — at the request of the Congress," the White House said in a statement earlier this month.
In other words, trust us.
One of the supporters of the now-defeated bill, Democrat-caucusing independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, along with Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, according to the New York Post, wrote in a USAToday op-ed op-ed that they know this sort of thing is going on:
“Ukraine is not without flaws. We’ve heard several unsettling reports of bad actors exploiting our generosity,” the senators wrote. “Some of our costly weapons have ended up in black markets. And corrupt officials have tried to line their own pockets.”
That's not surprising.
We already know from the COVID-19 experience that huge sums of government money, distributed quickly, is a recipe for corruption. Huge amounts of that money was diverted to fraud and corruption.
We also know that wars tend to create a lot of greedy profiteers with corrupt moneymaking schemes. Like truth being the first casualty of war, honesty in money matters is another one that goes fast.
And we also know that Ukraine before the war was the most corrupt country in Europe, prevented from entering the NATO alliance based on Germany's concerns about the amount of corruption in that country. Combine Ukraine with a war and corruption must be astronomical at this point.
Yet still, the Democrats resist the effort.
Based on what I have been able to find, that's in part because they don't like the Republicans who have called for this kind of accountability -- the Washington Post's snide references to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in a December 2022 piece based on her efforts to set up an auditor earlier, pretty well tell that they don't want to offer real arguments.
Here are a couple of Democrat arguments against the auditing of aid from that piece, too:
“This is not the time for us to be divided,” said Rep. Gregory W. Meeks of New York, the committee’s top Democrat. “We’ve held together with NATO and the E.U. and our allies. Let’s not fall into this trap.”
“There will be plenty of time to look at transparency and accountability,” Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) said. “Right now we’re in the middle of a war.”
...which sounds like what they said when they were shoveling out COVID funds, the fraud of which we are now just learning about.
Who are they protecting? Do they resist an auditor because it might expose the business deals of Hunter Biden and thus undercut Joe Biden's re-election campaign? That seems to be the only thing they care about.
Here's the problem with that argument: So long as U.S. aid is going to fraud and corruption, it isn't helping Ukraine defeat its much-bigger opponent. What's the point of spending this money if it just gets stolen? All it does is enrage Vladimir Putin, while providing no results for the spent cash. If Democrats are serious about winning the war in Ukraine, you'd think they would care very much about how the U.S. aid money is spent, particularly with the polls showing that the public favors it, too.
That sounds like a very bad way to spend vital U.S. tax dollars, particularly at a time when Americans are struggling with the effects of inflation and may be looking down the long barrel of a recession in the wake of it as a result.
Why are they opposed to this? Who are they protecting?
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