By Hannah Ng
A group of GOP lawmakers on Nov. 17 introduced legislation seeking to audit funds approved by Congress for Ukraine.
The initiative is being led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and backed by other Republican congress members including Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Barry Moore (Ala.), Andrew Clyde (Ga.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), and Rep-elect Cory Mills (R-Fla.) among others.
The Republican lawmakers are asking that any correspondence and documentation relating to assistance for Ukraine be submitted no later than 14 days after the resolution’s passage. All military, civilian, and financial assistance provided to Ukraine under President Joe Biden is included in the request.
As the bill was presented in the form of a privileged resolution, it will be referred to the relevant committee, where members, within 14 business days, are entitled to reject it or grant it approval for a vote on the House floor.
If the bill is not considered by the committee within that time frame, Greene has the option to force a House vote.
In a press conference later on the same day, Greene expressed hope for a full audit.
“We’re trying to get the documents here to find out where the money went. What we really need is a full audit. I hope when we take the majority, we’ll get a full audit,” she said.
Call for Inspector General
Massie further called for an inspector general to oversee how U.S. tax dollars are being spent in Ukraine.
He pointed to John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction appointed in 2012 by former President Barack Obama.
“Every report that Sopko put out showed that our money was being wasted and go into fraud in Afghanistan,” Massie said.
“The waste, fraud, and abuse in Afghanistan was epic,” he added.
Clyde also chimed in, noting “There’s billions of dollars going to Ukraine and no Inspector General.”
Alleged Ties to Democrat Donor
Clyde singled out recent reports that have sparked suspicion of the alleged relationship between cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Ukraine funding, and the Democrats.
FTX assisted the official website for Aid For Ukraine, an initiative that raises funds from the crypto community for the benefit of Ukraine’s military and humanitarian needs, according to the platform’s statement.
Specifically, FTX helped the Ukraine government in setting up payment rails and facilitating the conversion of crypto donations into fiat currency.
Days after the launch of the Ukraine–FTX collaboration, President Joe Biden announced an extra $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the platform CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was the second-largest Democrat donor for the 2021–22 cycle, donating $39.8 million.
While it’s unclear if reports that Ukrainian officials have invested in FTX are accurate, many are questioning whether Ukrainian officials have used funds delivered to Kyiv through FTX to funnel money to Democrat campaigns.
“With the troubling revelations and legitimate questions that have emerged regarding Ukraine funding with FTX, it’s essential that we provide the American people with the transparency that they deserve, and prioritize the well being of our constitutional republic,” Clyde stressed.
The appeal for more oversight into the aid to the war-torn country of the group echoed that of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy told Punchbowl News on Oct. 18.
Greene pointed to his comment and said, “You’ve heard Leader McCarthy say publicly that he doesn’t see very good odds for much funding for Ukraine going forward in a Republican-controlled conference.”
The Biden administration has requested $37.7 billion in additional funds for Ukraine. If approved, the total military and other assistance for Russia’s neighbor would amount to around $105 billion.
Greene previously promised that “not another penny” will go to Ukraine if Republicans retain the lower House.
She doubled down on her stance at the Thursday event.
“I think the American people and the taxpayers of this country deserve to know why the Biden administration and this Congress is so interested in funding the protection of Ukraine’s border, and not the protection of our border,” she said.
Andrew Moran contributed to this report.