September 25, 2020

Democrats seek investigation into Pentagon’s coronavirus fund following Washington Post article

Money intended for pandemic response was instead sent to defense contractors on unrelated projects

Congressional Democrats sharply criticized a Defense Department decision to repurpose a $1 billion coronavirus fund into an economic stimulus for defense contractors, a change the lawmakers say violated congressional intent. Three House Democratic representatives and a U.S. senator asked for investigations on the matter following a Washington Post article that revealed the change.

The funds, set aside under the Cares Act economic stimulus package passed in March, were given to the Pentagon to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” But the Defense Department decided to divert most of that funding toward long-standing defense concerns such as drone technology, body armor and dress uniforms. The decision was made in consultation with the White House Office of Management and Budget, as well as other federal agencies, according to a defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) wrote to the Defense Department’s acting inspector general Sean O’Donnell on Friday, asking him to “review the potential misuse of funds by the Department.” They also asked O’Donnell to investigate whether the payments were “needlessly duplicative,” given that some of the defense contractors that got awards also received relief loans from the Small Business Administration.

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Read the full article on the Washington Post website, here. 


By:  Aaron Gregg and Yeganeh Torbati
Source: Democrats seek investigation into Pentagon’s coronavirus fund following Washington Post article