WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) today is calling on senior officials in the Biden Administration to fully cooperate with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The Oversight Committee has obtained testimony from Inspector General John Sopko that the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Agency for International Development are obstructing SIGAR’s investigations.
“The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is investigating the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies from Afghanistan. One critical partner in helping the Committee assess issues related to security, humanitarian, economic, and governance assistance to the Afghan people has been the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). SIGAR has notified the Committee on multiple occasions of the Department of State’s, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s, the Department of Defense’s, and the U.S. Department of Treasury’s refusals to cooperate with SIGAR’s ongoing evaluations. This lack of cooperation is unacceptable. The Administration will neither avoid SIGAR’s important oversight work nor flout accountability to the American people for its catastrophic failures in Afghanistan,” wrote Chairman Comer.
At an Oversight Committee hearing on April 19, 2023, Inspector General John Sopko, the head of SIGAR, testified that U.S. taxpayer dollars are falling into the hands of the Taliban and the Biden Administration is obstructing SIGAR’s congressionally mandated reports. The Biden Administration’s claims that SIGAR no longer has oversight jurisdiction over humanitarian aid and development assistance is a radical departure from its own past practice. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 makes clear that SIGAR is to report quarterly on U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance to Afghanistan.
“The Administration’s refusal to cooperate with SIGAR has inhibited SIGAR’s ability to conduct independent, robust, and meaningful oversight. As U.S. taxpayer dollars continue to assist the people of Afghanistan, it is imperative SIGAR’s mission remain unobstructed. Congress has granted SIGAR authority to carry out this mission of providing whole-of-government oversight, and it is Congress’s authority alone to determine SIGAR’s jurisdiction and scope of mission. Therefore, the Committee urges the Administration to cooperate fully with SIGAR on any prior, ongoing, or future requests for information, audits, evaluations, oversight, interviews, or any other tool SIGAR deems necessary to complete its mission,” continued Chairman Comer.
Read the letter to Secretaries Antony Blinken, Lloyd Austin, Janet Yellen, and Administrator Samantha Power here.