Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst sent a letter Wednesday to Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power calling for answers over where U.S. taxpayer dollars are going in Ukraine.
The Daily Caller first obtained the letter in which Ernst, who serves as the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, shares her concerns regarding recent reports of USAID allegedly providing taxpayer-funded assistance to support small businesses in Ukraine. Ernst said her staff contacted USAID on Nov. 1 over these concerns, to which the agency did not respond.
“Like countless Iowans and Americans, I find these assistance activities and USAID’s lack of transparency particularly troublesome in light of the Biden administration’s recent request of approximately $14 billion in additional appropriations for non-military aid to Ukraine, including for accounts that facilitate distribution of funds to bolster Ukrainian businesses,” Ernst writes in the letter.
“My support for providing weapons and munitions to Ukrainian fighters as they counter Putin’s regime on the battlefield is steadfast. But I’m weary of doling out nearly $25 billion in hardworking Americans’ tax dollars for so-called economic aid to Ukraine, including subsidies for overseas businesses such as a luxury ‘contemporary knitwear couture’ company in Kyiv,” she continues.
HERE IS WHAT ERNST CALLS FOR IN THE LETTER:
- “A complete list of businesses in Ukraine which have received American taxpayer support via in-kind assistance, cash assistance, technical assistance, or any other USAID program funded in whole or in part by the United States since February 2022, including: a. The name and address of each business; b. The amounts and types of assistance each business received; c. An analysis of the benefit to American taxpayers of providing the assistance to each specific Ukrainian business; and d. The appropriations account from which the assistance originated.
- A complete list of partner organizations operating in Ukraine which have assisted USAID in the distribution of American taxpayer-funded assistance to businesses since February 2022.
- A description of USAID procedures for evaluating potential recipients, as well as those entities responsible for facilitating distribution, of Americans’ taxpayer dollars for entrepreneurial, economic development, or other small-business related purposes in Ukraine.
- A list of unsolicited and solicited proposals from businesses in Ukraine provided to USAID which were rejected, as well as the justification provided by the Contracting Officer (CO), Agreement Officer (AO), or any other adjudicating official for the rejection.
- A list of unsolicited and solicited proposals from businesses in Ukraine provided to USAID which were accepted, as well as the justification provided by the CO, AO, or any other adjudicating official for the acceptance.”
READ THE LETTER HERE:
“Meanwhile, USAID is spending millions of our hard-earned dollars each year to bankroll companies around the world, spurring competitors to American businesses through assistance programs with too few barriers to entry. This year alone, your agency pledged $230 million to support businesses in Ukraine. Many, if not most, of these businesses are unrelated to the ongoing war effort,” Ernst adds. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Must Come To An End’ — Republicans Call On Biden To Stop Sending ‘Unrestrained’ Aid To Ukraine)
“Iowans and hardworking American small business owners across our country are left to wonder why our government is bailing out companies abroad while so many struggle to make ends meet at home. Through USAID’s efforts, it appears to be easier for foreign businesses to profit from our tax dollars than it is for our small business owners here at home to receive support,” she continues. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Introduce Legislation To Prevent Ukraine From Stealing US Taxpayer Dollars)
Ernst is calling for answers and information to be delivered to her no later than Friday, Dec. 1, 2023.