09.27.19

Baldwin, Colleagues Press DOD OIG To Investigate Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative Funding That Was Held By Trump Administration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, joined her colleagues to call on the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to review DoD’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding appropriated by Congress, which was halted for a significant portion of the year by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), allegedly at the direction of the White House.

“The delay would appear to have hindered the Department’s statutory obligation to provide security assistance to Ukraine at a critical moment, and raises serious questions about whether DoD officials were involved in any scheme to target a political opponent,” the Senators wrote in a letter to DoD Acting Inspector General Glenn Fine.  “As a result, it is imperative that your office pursue a thorough review of DoD’s potential role in these allegations, and provide your findings to the congressional defense committees in a timely manner.”

As part of the OIG investigation, the Senators requested that Acting Inspector General Fine examine answers to the following questions:

  1. Why did the Department of Defense fail to execute funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative in a timely manner, consistent with the February and May notifications to Congress?
  2. Was the Department directed to slow or halt its work to spend the funds, and was the Department prohibited from communicating this to Congress? At whose direction?
  3. Was it the understanding of anyone in the Department that the request to halt Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds was connected to a political consideration by the President and his senior staff?
  4. Did anyone in the Department report any concerns related to this matter to your office, and if so, what was the substance of such reports?
  5. When was the Department told that OMB had released its hold, and was it told why the hold was released at that time?

In addition to Baldwin, the letter was led by Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and also signed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Full text of the letter is available here.