This bill — the Ukraine Foreign Assistance Integrity and Accountability Act of 2019 — would express the sense of the Senate that security assistance provided to Ukraine serves vital U.S. security interests and is a critical component of efforts to counter Russian aggression and malign influence. It would also require the State Dept.’s Inspector General to investigate the White House’s decision to freeze security assistance funds to Ukraine, force the State Dept. to turn over all records relating to the Ukraine scandal, immediately obligate all existing funds for Ukraine, and impose new sanctions on Russia for its continued aggression against Ukraine.
This bill would require the Inspector General of the State Dept. to immediately investigate the issue of inappropriate interference into foreign assistance designated for Ukraine. A report of the IG’s findings would be due to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee by no later than October 25, 2019.
The IG’s report would include the following elements:
- An examination of when and how the State Dept. first learned that $141.5 million on foreign military assistance for Ukraine would be delayed, and the extent to which the Secretary of State and other presidential appointees were involved in deciding to suspend the assistance.
- An assessment of the reasons the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provided for blocking foreign assistance funds to Ukraine.
- A detailed explanation of why funds to Ukraine were ultimately delayed, and who made the decision.
- An assessment of whether the State Dept. communicated — either internally or internally — with U.S. or Ukrainian officials about efforts or requests to investigate any presidential candidates for the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
This bill would also require the State Dept. to immediately search for, collect, and produce all records related to inappropriate interference in the provision of foreign assistance to Ukraine. This would include:
- All records in the State Dept.’s custody or control related to foreign military assistance for Ukraine received, originating from, or created since September 1, 2018.
- All records in the State Dept.’s custody or control related to efforts or requests to investigate any presidential candidates for the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
- All records since September 1, 2018 regarding assistance to Ukraine, pertaining to the President’s personal lawyer, or efforts or requests to investigate any presidential candidates for the 2020 U.S. presidential election between the State Dept. and the White House, National Security Council (NSC), or Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
- All records in the State Dept.’s custody or control related to the President’s personal attorney, including: 1) communications between the State Dept. and the president’s personal attorney; 2) records relating to State Dept. efforts to support or facilitate any activities for the President’s personal attorney in the U.S., Ukraine, or elsewhere; and 3) records relating to meetings between the President’s personal attorney and Ukrainian government officials.
- A list of State Dept. officials the President’s personal attorney briefed about his communications with any Ukrainian government officials.
- All records in the State Dept.’s custody or control related to the President’s July 25, 2019 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
This bill would require the President to immediately obligate all funds appropriated for: 1) the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative for FY2019 and 2) for Foreign Foreign Military Financing Overseas Contingency Operations for FY2018 and for the Foreign Military Financing Program for FY2019.
To counter Russian influence, this bill would authorize $250 million for each of FY2020 and FY2021 that would be allocated to the Countering Russian Influence Fund. This Fund would be used in European and Eurasian countries which the Secretary of State determines are vulnerable to malign Russian influence. It would seek to:
- Assist in protecting critical infrastructure and electoral mechanisms from cyberattacks.
- Combat corruption, improve the rural of law, and otherwise strengthen independent judiciaries and prosecutors general offices.
- Respond to the humanitarian crises and instability caused or aggravated by Russian invasions and occupations of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
- Improve participatory legislative processes and legal education, political transparency and competition, and compliance with international obligations.
- Build the capacity of civil society, media, and other nongovernmental organizations to counter Russian influence and propaganda by combating corruption, prioritizing access to truthful information, and operating freely in all regions.
- Assist the Secretary of State in efforts to recognize, understand, expose, and counter propaganda and disinformation efforts by foreign governments in coordination with the relevant Assistant Secretary or Assistant Secretaries of the State Dept.
To maximize impact and eliminate duplication of efforts, the Secretary of State would coordinate efforts with the European Union and its institutions; the governments of NATO and EU countries; and international organizations and quasi-governmental funding entities that carry out programs and activities seeking to accomplish the goals of the Countering Russian Influence Fund.
This bill would instruct the Secretary of State to expand the pilot program under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act to hire additional personnel within the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to develop and implement programs focused on combating corruption, improving the rule of law, and building the capacity of civil society, political parties, and independent media.
Finally, this bill would impose new sanctions on Russia for its continued aggression in eastern Ukraine. These sanctions would target Russia’s shipping sector, oligarchs, and cyber attackers.