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40 Groups Demand Congress Probe ‘Gross Misuse’ of $1 Billion in Covid-19 Funding by Pentagon

‘It’s unconscionable that the department would prioritize defense contractor wish lists over the health and safety of the American people.’

By Jessica Corbett | 25 September 2020

COMMON DREAMS — A coalition of 40 ideologically diverse organizations on Thursday demanded that federal lawmakers investigate allegations from earlier this week that the Pentagon misused much of $1 billion in congressionally appropriated Covid-19 relief funding for what one critic called “a colossal backdoor bailout for the defense industry.”

The groups’ call came in a letter (pdf) addressed to Reps. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) Steve Scalise (R-La.), leaders of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The push for a probe was prompted by Washington Post reporting that some tax dollars directed to the Defense Department in March for building up U.S. supplies of medical equipment have “instead been mostly funneled to defense contractors and used to make things such as jet engine parts, body armor, and dress uniforms.”

In addition to a probe, the National Taxpayers Union, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), Win Without War, and 37 other groups urged Clyburn and Scalise to determine whether Congress should pass a bill suspending the Pentagon’s spending authority for the funds, arguing that the department’s decision-making “violates congressional intent at minimum, and represents a significant breach of trust with the taxpayers who fund the military’s budget and its emergency spending.”

Win Without War advocacy director Erica Fein said in a statement that “this gross misuse of Covid-19 relief funds provides yet another example of the Pentagon’s wasteful, unaccountable spending, which puts the corporate profits of the weapons industry over the lives and well-being of everyday people.”

“This scandal should be a wake-up call,” she added. “The greatest threats to human security cannot be addressed by funneling money into weapons of war. We must resist the corrupting influence of the military contracting industry, stop pouring our resources into the bloated, unaccountable Pentagon coffers, and instead invest in meeting our country’s, and the world’s, real human needs.” […]

1 Comment on 40 Groups Demand Congress Probe ‘Gross Misuse’ of $1 Billion in Covid-19 Funding by Pentagon

  1. The Pentagon’s theft is small potatoes! If people really want to expose egregious theft, investigate the TRILLIONS of dollars BlackRock and their brethren are stealing, including literally looting the US Treasury.

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