More than $1.3 billion U.S. tax dollars were sent to Russia and China over the past five years (since 2017), according to a new analysis released today by Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and OpenTheBooks.com auditors. This amount likely doesn’t reflect the total amount because federal agencies do not follow the trail of tax dollars to their final destination.
Senator Ernst and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) are leading the charge to create transparency and accountability for the taxpayer dollars that are being handed out in China and Russia. Today, they are introducing the Tracking Receipts to Adversarial Countries for Knowledge of Spending (TRACKS) Act that would require every penny from a government grant paid to any organization in China and Russia to be tracked and publicly disclosed.
Senator Ernst and OpenTheBooks determined more than $490 million from U.S. grants and contracts were paid to organizations in China over the past five years and another $870 million were paid to entities in Russia.
"Holding firms responsible to publicly report where and how they use their grants and contract awards can deputize private citizens and make them part of the solution. Radical transparency is revolutionizing U.S. public policy and is the information machine for democracy. Everyone has a stake in a more transparent, effective government."
Some of these projects in Russia and China funded by taxpayer dollars already tracked down include:
$58.7 million from Department of State, including $96,875 for gender equality through exhibition of New Yorker magazine cartoons
$51.6 million from Department of Defense, including $6 million for tech support of the military “deployment and distribution command” software – delivering equipment and supplies anywhere our military is deployed, even though the DOD Inspector General warned the Pentagon about using Chinese IT companies on DOD projects
$4.7 million to a Russian company for health insurance that was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2022
$4.2 million from Health and Human Services, including $770,466 to a state-run lab in Russia to put cats on treadmills
$2.4 million on Russian alcohol and addiction research
$2 million funneled to China’s state-run Wuhan Institute of Virology to conduct dangerous experiments on bat coronaviruses and transgenic mice
$1.6 million to Chinese companies from National School Lunch Program, which means taxpayer dollars from the CARES Act meant for American farmers went to Chinese ag exporters
$1.45 million for pandemic virus tracking in Russia
Subsidies for the Russian space program by funding the Russia Space Agency and vendors
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And while it's great that the US is tracking "every penny" paid to adversarial countries, why doesn't the government also track every penny spent to friendly countries - what little is left of them - not to mention domestic recipients? Last time we checked, the Pentagon - the biggest money laundering machine in the world, far greater than bitcoin ever could be - which can only account for 39% of its $3.5 trillion in assets and racked up $35 trillion in accounting changes in just one year, and has never passed a full audit. Maybe instead of worrying so much about the few billions going to the Wuhan lab - what's done is done - someone can rein in the trillions in untracable spending and money laundering that takes place right under the noses of America's elected bureaucrats.