A proposal from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to establish a special position in the federal government whose occupant would be responsible for oversight of aid provided to Ukraine failed majorly in the Senate. The vote was actually at the end of the month a couple of months prior — meaning on March 28, but this development could probably use additional attention, especially as Hawley faces an imminent electoral battle for his seat.
A full 68 Senators voted against Hawley’s initiative, and only 26 Senators backed it. In short, it is probably unfair — and just inaccurate — to assume that comprehensive oversight of the assistance the U.S. has been providing Ukraine hasn’t already been being conducted. Carrying that assumption to the point of establishing a special oversight role just for doing the investigations already done elsewhere would probably constitute a major waste of government resources, no matter the odd popularity that’s been seen on the Right for antagonism towards the prospect of helping Ukraine amid its ongoing national defense against Russia.
Hawley’s initiative, according to which the occupant of the role would have reported to Cabinet secretaries, assumed a possibility of serious criminal misconduct that was going without appropriate handling, which again just seems unrealistic. Duties for the proposed official would have included “the investigation of overpayments such as duplicate payments or duplicate billing and any potential unethical or illegal actions of Federal employees, contractors, or affiliated entities and the referral of such reports, as necessary, to the Department of Justice to ensure further investigations, prosecutions, recovery of further funds, or other remedies,” Hawley’s proposal said. Hawley’s proposal would have also required a regular series of reports, which were to be made available, at least generally, to the general public online.
Only three Democrats or generally Democratic Party-aligned members voted in favor. That list includes Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).