Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released a slew of documents Thursday night that were either obtained during or related to the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) assessment that the Trump administration broke the law when it withheld congressionally approved aid from Ukraine last summer.
In December, Van Hollen wrote to the GAO requesting that it review the freezing of the aid.
The independent government watchdog released its report last week and concluded that by withholding the aid from Ukraine, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was in violation of the Impoundment Control Act (ICA).
“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the report reads. “OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act. … Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.”
The OMB’s aid freeze is at the center of the impeachment of President Trump that is taking place.
Van Hollen noted in a statement released along with the documents Thursday that on Dec. 11, the OMB submitted an “incomplete response” to the GAO during the watchdog’s review of the matter, and that the White House “refused to respond altogether and blocked DOD from providing an independent response as well.”
GOP lawmakers have countered that the White House was doing its due diligence to make sure that the aid to Ukraine wasn’t falling into corrupt hands.
However, documents have shown that aid freeze happened well after the Pentagon had already confirmed that Ukraine had met the anti-corruption guidelines that were set by Congress in order for Ukraine to receive the aid.
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