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Pentagon Investigating Over 50 Cases of ‘Theft, Fraud & Corruption’ Linked to Ukraine Aid

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According to a report from the Pentagon’s inspector general in January, U.S. authorities could not account for more than $1 billion worth of American weapons dispatched to Ukraine. This situation mirrors a previous acknowledgment from the Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General, which admitted difficulties in overseeing U.S. military supplies sent to Kiev last year.

In response to mounting worries about inadequate supervision and the risk of misappropriation, U.S. criminal investigators have initiated over 50 investigations concerning aid to Ukraine.

Investigations are looking into possible “procurement fraud, product substitution, theft, fraud or corruption, and diversion,” according to Pentagon Inspector General Robert Storch.

Most of these cases – some involving contractors – are still underway, but already “stresses and gaps” have been laid bare by the auditors, the inspector general told a briefing during the week, adding:

“We have not substantiated any such allegations, though that may well change in the future.”

According to the official, “given the quantity and speed” of equipment being sent to Ukraine, one may anticipate more investigations into abuse or diversions.

While few details were offered, the briefing referenced audits having discovered incomplete shipment manifests bound for Ukraine via Poland. “As a result, DoD personnel did not have required visibility and accountability of all types of equipment during the transfer process,” the audit assessment was cited as underscoring.

Another audit which is currently ongoing is said to focus on the delivery of 155 mm artillery shells to Ukraine. The investigation aims to ascertain whether the United States managed to fulfill its shipment target without compromising its own defense requirements.

Earlier in February, U.S. House lawmakers demanded that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin provide them with documents related to US military aid to Ukraine.

“Following an Inspec tor General report revealing the Department of Defense (DoD) has failed to track military weapons and articles going to Ukraine, the lawmakers are calling on DoD Secretary Lloyd Austin to provide documents and information to understand how the Department intends to mitigate the vulnerabilities of military assistance to Ukraine,” the letter said. It referred to a 2023 report concluding that the Pentagon faced “challenges” in monitoring all of the American military equipment pouring into Ukraine.

Moreover, Representative Matt Gaetz, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, has recently asserted that funds designated by the U.S. to assist Ukraine were flowing into the world’s money-laundering hubs. Gaetz, joining a growing number of outspoken critics of aid to Ukraine in Congress, emphasized at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that the U.S. should cease providing foreign aid unless it trims its own “overinflated” federal budget.

The news of the probes have surfaced amidst the Biden administration’s stalled supplemental funding request of over $100 billion, which includes more than $60 billion designated for Ukraine. House Republican lawmakers have withheld approval, demanding measures to fortify border security and curb immigration.

Following Russia’s initiation of a special military operation in Ukraine, the U.S. and its allies escalated military aid to Kiev. Moscow has repeatedly cautioned that NATO nations are “playing with fire” by furnishing arms, which the Kremlin claims prolongs the conflict in Ukraine. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized that any shipment carrying weapons for the Zelensky government would be considered a legitimate target for Russian forces.

Moreover, Moscow has persistently cautioned that some of the weaponry provided by the West to the corrupt Kiev administration would end up on the black market. Igor Korotchenko, the director of the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT), informed Sputnik in 2023 that an estimated 10-15% of weapons dispatched to Ukraine are unlawfully re-exported to the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Africa.

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Democrats Block SAVE Act in Senate, Allowing Potential for Illegal Immigrant Voting

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Senate Democrats have thwarted the passage of the SAVE Act, a pivotal bill aimed at bolstering the integrity of federal elections by mandating proof of citizenship for voting eligibility. This move follows the House’s approval of the bill with a narrow vote of 221-198, where almost all Democrats opposed the measure.

The SAVE Act seeks to amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to enforce stricter voter registration standards. Specifically, it proposes that voters must furnish documentary evidence of U.S. citizenship to participate in federal elections, diverging from current regulations that only require such proof for state and local elections.

Senator Mike Lee, commending Representative Chip Roy for the bill’s passage, emphasized the necessity for Senate action, asserting, “Federal elections are only for U.S. citizens.”

However, despite efforts to expedite the bill in the Senate, Democrats raised objections, preventing its immediate passage. Senator Lee expressed frustration over the blockage, highlighting the potential consequences: “It’ll stop noncitizens from voting.”

In a statement on the Senate floor, Senator Lee voiced deep concerns, citing a recent study revealing significant opportunities for illegal voting by noncitizens. The study indicated that between 10% to 27% of noncitizens are registered to vote, with 5% to 13% actually participating in presidential elections.

Instances of voter fraud, including noncitizens illegally registered to vote, have been documented across the country. Reports have surfaced of unsolicited voter registration forms sent to noncitizens and inadequate checks during driver’s license issuance, contributing to vulnerabilities in the electoral system.

A video shared by Mike Howell, Executive Director of the Heritage Oversight Project, in collaboration with Muckraker.com, further underscored concerns. The video exposed instances of illegal aliens admitting to voter registration in North Carolina, emphasizing the need to safeguard American elections from foreign influence.

The SAVE Act’s blockade in the Senate has ignited a contentious debate over electoral integrity and the role of citizenship in voting rights. As the legislative battle continues, the future of federal voting regulations remains uncertain, with implications for the upcoming 2024 elections.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Reinstates Unstaffed Drop Boxes Ahead of 2024 Election

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In a significant ruling on July 5, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided to reinstate the use of unstaffed drop boxes for absentee ballots, reversing the prohibition that had been in effect since 2022. The court’s 4–3 decision marks a pivotal change in Wisconsin’s election procedures ahead of the 2024 elections.

In 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that state law did not allow for absentee drop boxes to be placed anywhere other than in election clerk offices. This decision effectively banned the use of unmanned drop boxes, which had been widely utilized in previous elections to facilitate absentee voting.

The reversal of the 2022 ruling was influenced by a change in the court’s composition. A new justice was elected in 2023, which led to a re-evaluation of the previous decision. During the arguments in May, Justice Jill Karofsky questioned the validity of the 2022 ruling, suggesting that it may have been a mistake. “What if we just got it wrong? What if we made a mistake? Are we now supposed to just perpetuate that mistake into the future?” Karofsky asked during the proceedings.

The court heard arguments three months before the August 13 primary and six months ahead of the November presidential election. Attorneys representing Republican backers of the 2022 ruling contended that there had been no changes in the facts or the law to justify overturning a decision that was less than two years old. Misha Tseytlin, at torney for the Republican-controlled Legislature, argued that overturning the ruling could lead to future instability, as the court might have to revisit the issue whenever its composition changes.

However, Justice Karofsky countered this by pointing out the potential flaws in the 2022 decision, questioning whether the court should continue to uphold a ruling that was “egregiously wrong from the start” with “exceptionally weak” reasoning and damaging consequences.

Democrats and voting rights advocates argued that the 2022 ruling misinterpreted the law by concluding that absentee ballots could only be returned to a clerk’s office and not to a drop box controlled by the clerk. David Fox, attorney for the groups challenging the prohibition, described the current law as unworkable and unclear about where ballots can be returned.

Several justices expressed concerns about revisiting the previous ruling, with Justice Rebecca Bradley cautioning against the court acting as a “super Legislature” and giving municipal clerks excessive discretion in conducting elections.

The case was brought by voter mobilization group Priorities USA and the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Voters. Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which oversees the state’s elections, supported the use of drop boxes. Election officials from four counties, including the state’s two largest, also filed briefs in support of overturning the prohibition, arguing that drop boxes had been used securely for decades.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys highlighted the practical impact of the 2022 ruling, noting that over 1,600 absentee ballots arrived late and were not counted in the 2022 election when drop boxes were not in use. By contrast, in the 2020 election, when drop boxes were available, only 689 ballots arrived after Election Day, despite a significantly higher number of absentee voters.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate unstaffed drop boxes is a crucial development in the state’s election laws, potentially increasing accessibility and convenience for absentee voters. As the 2024 elections approach, this ruling may have significant implications for voter turnout and the administration of elections in Wisconsin.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Elon Musk Backs Voter Bill Aimed at Providing Proof of U.S. Citizenship to Vote, Labels Opponents as “Traitors”

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Elon Musk recently voiced strong support for the SAVE Act, a bill proposed by House Speaker Mike Johnson aimed at ensuring only U.S. citizens can vote in federal elections. The Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act seeks to amend the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by mandating documentary proof of U.S. citizenship for voter registration in federal elections.

The bill outlines several key measures:

  • State election officials must verify citizenship before providing voter registration forms.
  • Individuals must provide proof of citizenship to register to vote in federal elections.
  • States can accept various documents to make it easier for citizens to register.
  • States will have access to federal agency databases to remove non-citizens from voter rolls.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is directed to determine whether to initiate removal proceedings if a non-citizen is identified as registered to vote.
  • DHS must notify state election officials when individuals are naturalized to ensure they can exercise their voting rights.

Supporters, including Musk, argue that these measures are necessary to protect the integrity of U.S. elections by preventing non-citizens from voting. Critics of the bill claim it could disenfranchise eligible voters by imposing additional hurdles to the registration process.

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