09.22.20

Lee, Pocan Request Congressional Investigation into Pentagon Misuse of COVID Funds

Today, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI), co-chairs of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus, sent a letter to Majority Whip James Clyburn and Chairpersons Carolyn Maloney and Adam Smith asking for the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and the House Armed Services Committee to conduct oversight investigations and public hearings into the Pentagon’s misuse of Congressionally-appropriated funds as reported today in the Washington Post.

The report alleges that the Pentagon misused money from a $1 billion fund allocated by the CARES Act to provide funding through the Defense Production Act to produce coronavirus medical supplies to instead pay defense contractors to produce jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms.

“Stories like this give even more credence to my effort with Rep. Pocan to direct funding away from the pentagon and toward human needs as we fight back this global pandemic,” said Rep. Barbara Lee. “These taxpayer dollars were appropriated by Congress for the sole purpose of combatting this virus. If these allegations are true it is simply unacceptable and those responsible must be held accountable. The culture within this administration of neglecting the needs of the American people in favor of bloated defense spending for endless wars must come to an end.”

 “Once again, the Pentagon is using taxpayer dollars to line the pockets of defense contractors instead of protecting our troops or the American people,” said Congressman Pocan. “Over 200,000 Americans have died, hospitals continue to face shortages of masks and supplies, but the Department of Defense would rather use funds to reward defense contractors. As if an over $700 billion defense budget was not enough for the Pentagon to take from priorities for the American people, now they seek to directly dry up COVID relief funds. An investigation must occur immediately and those responsible at the Pentagon must be held accountable.”

See the full letter here.