A new analysis released today by Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and OpenTheBooks.com auditors reveals that an astonishing sum exceeding $1.3 billion in U.S. tax dollars has been disbursed to Russia and China over the course of the past five years, starting from 2017. It is important to note that this figure is likely an underestimation, as federal agencies currently do not diligently trace the trajectory of these tax dollars, ultimately obscuring their ultimate destination.
Senator Ernst and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) are spearheading the initiative to establish transparency and accountability regarding the allocation of taxpayer funds in China and Russia. To this end, they are introducing the Tracking Receipts to Adversarial Countries for Knowledge of Spending (TRACKS) Act. If enacted, this legislation would mandate comprehensive monitoring and public disclosure of each and every penny disbursed from a government grant to any organization situated in China or Russia.
According to the meticulous research conducted by Senator Ernst and OpenTheBooks, it has been determined that over $490 million from U.S. grants and contracts have been directed towards organizations in China during the previous five-year period. Additionally, an astounding $870 million has been paid out 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
While it is commendable that the United States is implementing measures to meticulously track and monitor funds disbursed to adversarial countries, it raises a valid question as to why the government does not extend this level of scrutiny to expenditures involving friendly nations, considering the limited number of such alliances that remain intact. Additionally, it is worth noting the importance of tracking domestic recipients as well.
It is indeed disconcerting that the Pentagon, often regarded as the largest money laundering machine globally, far surpassing the potential impact of Bitcoin, has only been able to account for a mere 39% of its vast $3.5 trillion in assets. Moreover, the institution recorded a staggering $35 trillion in accounting adjustments in a single year and has consistently failed to undergo a comprehensive audit. Perhaps, instead of solely focusing on the relatively small sums allocated to the Wuhan lab, which cannot be undone, there should be greater efforts to address the trillions of dollars in untraceable spending and money laundering taking place right under the noses of elected American officials.