Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, has taken the State Department to task for its slow response to watchdog complaints regarding $40 million in dubious aid to Afghanistan.
In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Grassley underscored the necessity for compliance with rules, regulations, and laws when handling taxpayer money.
Grassley highlighted the disappointing fact that, of the $40 million in questioned aid, only $19,000 was found to be allowable by law. Furthermore, just $191,000 of improperly spent aid is currently being returned to the government.
This sluggish response and lack of accountability have left Grassley frustrated with the State Department’s handling of the situation.
The State Department is among several agencies criticized for squandering billions in taxpayer money on Afghanistan reconstruction projects over the past two decades.
Many of these projects have failed or been poorly executed, further fueling taxpayer frustration.
Senator Grassley is requesting regular updates on the auditing efforts, explanations for the two-year delay, and insight into the department’s attempts to recover the misused funds.
While the State Department has been somewhat helpful in addressing old recommendations from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), 14 recommendations remain unaddressed.
This lack of action could put the department in violation of federal law.