More than $1.3 billion has been funneled overseas to China and Russia through ‘unnecessary projects’ in the past five years, according to a compilation of taxpayer-funded grants uncovered by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.
Nonprofit transparency group Open the Books worked with Ernst to put together a new analysis of data from USAspending.gov, which found that between 2017 and 2022, US-funded grants and contracts in the amount of 490 million dollars were paid to Chinese organizations and another $870 million was sent to entities in Russia.
According to Ernst’s analysis, the United States has distributed millions in strange “pet projects” to its biggest adversaries.
The study found that the State Department handed over nearly $58.7 million to China and used nearly $100,000 of that sum to promote awareness of “gender equality” through a series New Yorker magazine cartoons.
Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services paid more than $770,000 to a state lab in Russia to put “cats on treadmills.”
“When I followed the lead, it is of grave concern that the final destination of over $1.3 billion in US tax dollars is wasteful projects in China and Russia,” Ernst told DailyMail.com .
Other previously undisclosed grants included $51.6 million from the Department of Defense to China, which specifically allocated $6 million for technical support of military “deployment and distribution command” software.
Ernst, the first female combat veteran to serve in the Senate, signaled that this should be of particular concern to Americans as the DOD inspector general has warned the Pentagon against using Chinese IT companies in government projects. .
Other pockets of money went to Russia for alcohol and drug addiction research and to a health insurance company that was sanctioned by the United States in 2022 after the invasion of Ukraine by the country, according to the Republican.
Ernst also pointed to the already known millions given to China’s state-run Wuhan Institute of Virology through NIH grants to EcoHealth Alliance, which she says used US taxpayer dollars to conduct ‘dangerous experiments’ on bat coronaviruses.
“When I followed the lead, it is of grave concern that the final destination of over $1.3 billion in US tax dollars is wasteful projects in China and Russia,” Ernst told DailyMail.com in a press release.
“I’ve tracked down the money, so Americans can know exactly where their hard-earned dollars are going, and we can put a stop to this massive spending.”
As a result of these findings, lawmakers are considering ways to ensure greater accountability in the future.
Ernst, along with Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who is the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, introduced a new bill Wednesday to provide greater transparency on payments to China and to Russia in the future.
Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., is the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party
“It’s crazy, but to make matters worse, this may just be the tip of the iceberg,” Gallagher said.
The Adversary Country Receipt Tracking for Knowledge of Expenditures (TRACKS) Act would require government agencies to publicly disclose any grants they give to America’s biggest adversaries.
“Thanks to the work of Senator Ernst, we know that the federal government has wasted over a billion US taxpayer dollars on our adversaries. It’s crazy, but to make matters worse, it might just be the tip of the iceberg,” Gallagher said.
“The TRACKS Act brings much-needed transparency to how we spend federal dollars and will help us take action to hold government accountable and prevent taxpayers from supporting our adversaries.”
A GOP aide noted that the $1.3 billion figure isn’t all the money that went to China and Russia in the 2017-2022 period.
The new legislation would ensure that other amounts are now captured and included in public reporting forums, including money sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the aide added.