(The Center Square) — The U.S. House Oversight Committee is investigating U.S. taxpayer funding for Ukraine after a watchdog report found a large percentage of the equipment has gone unaccounted for since last June.
House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., joined by Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, and other Republicans on the Oversight Committee, sent a letter to Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin raising concerns about the funding and asking for documentation of how it has been distributed.
“The Committee remains concerned about the Department of Defense’s (DoD) ability to conduct end-use monitoring of weapons, equipment, and other defense articles going to Ukraine,” the letter said. “It is vital that DoD works to ensure weapons and other forms of security assistance are used for their intended purposes, that they do not fall into the hands of our enemies, and that the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse is mitigated.”
According to the committee, the U.S. has sent nearly $50 billion in military assistance to Ukraine in the last decade, most of that in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Much of that has come through handing U.S. munitions and other military equipment to Ukrainian forces.
Lawmakers have become increasingly critical of funding to Ukraine as the figure grows and questions arise about how the taxpayer money is being spent.
The Inspector General for DOD released a watchdog report last month furthering those concerns. The report found that a significant portion of the equipment inventory were “delinquent.”
“Specifically, the DoD OIG determined that, as of June 2, 2023, serial number inventories for more than $1.005 billion (59 percent) of the total $1.699 billion of EEUM-designated defense articles were delinquent,” the IG’s office said. “Multiple factors contributed to the reporting gaps, including the limited number of U.S. personnel at logistics hubs in a partner nation and in Ukraine, the absence of procedures for conducting EEUM in a hostile environment until December 2022, the movement restrictions for EEUM personnel within Ukraine, and a lack of internal controls for validating data in the SCIP-EUM database.”
Concerns like these are part of the reason lawmakers have held off on passing additional Ukraine assistance.
In another case, an “accounting error” led the agency to overestimate the value of equipment sent to Ukraine by $6.2 billion.
“Despite multiple assurances from DoD that every mechanism is in place to prevent waste, fraud and abuse of U.S. taxpayer funds going to Ukraine, the DoD Inspector General (DoD IG) has alerted Congress of failures by DoD to track enhanced weapons and other defense articles going to Ukraine,” the letter said. “DoD IG’s findings in this report contradict the commitments DoD made to the Committee guaranteeing that effective mechanisms are in place to track American weapons and equipment going to Ukraine.”