Jul 14 2016

Senators Fischer and Lankford Introduce Bill to Expose Taxpayer Funds Transferred to Iran

Legislation Will Allow Americans to Track Payments to Foreign Nations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This morning, U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced legislation to track taxpayer-funded payments to foreign nations and prevent harmful transactions from happening in the future. The bill, known as the Judgment Fund Transparency and Terrorism Financing Prevention Act, expands upon legislation that Senator Fischer introduced last year with Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). It would require a public accounting of the taxpayer funds that are distributed out of the Judgment Fund.

Senator Fischer released the following statement:

“Hardworking American families have every right to see exactly how their tax dollars are being spent, especially when used to fund hostile enemies of the United States. That is why I’m proud to join Senator Lankford to offer a new version of the Judgment Fund Transparency Act, which includes greater oversight of taxpayer-funded payments to foreign nations. More transparency leads to greater accountability and through this bill, we can hold our government to task for their actions. We should not be in the business of providing funds to state sponsors of terrorism.”

Senator Lankford released the following statement:

“One year after the Iran Nuclear agreement, we still have the same concerns with Iran as before. Their secrecy is disconcerting and they continue to be spread terrorism and a radical Islamist ideology around the region. President Obama’s billion-dollar payment to Iran in January, which we now know is funding Iran’s military expansion, is an appalling example of Executive Branch governance.

“The bill Senator Fischer and I have introduced will provide the American public with necessary details of this dangerous billion-dollar payment and ensure that no taxpayer dollars are ever again used to fund the extremist and violent ambitions of rogue nations like Iran.  Subsidizing Iran’s military is perhaps the worst use of taxpayer dollars ever by an American president.”

Today marks the first anniversary of the Iran Nuclear Deal, a deeply misguided agreement that enables Iran to gain billions of dollars in sanctioned funds. In January, the Obama administration transferred $1.7 billion to Iran’s Central Bank. It was paid in connection with the settlement of a claim relating to arms sales to the Shah. Last month, new reports indicated the U.S. payment was transferred to Iran’s defense budget.

In an effort to cast light on these financial transactions, Senators Fischer and Lankford have introduced new legislation to track taxpayer-funded payments to foreign nations and prevent harmful transactions from happening in the future.

The original version of the Judgment Fund Transparency Act was introduced by Senator Fischer and Senator Gardner in February 2015. It passed the Senate in April 2016 as part of the final energy bill known as the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

The Judgment Fund, which is administered by the Treasury Department, is used to pay for certain court judgments and settlements against the federal government. Between 2013 and 2015, the federal government paid more than $10 billion in Judgment Fund awards with scant transparency or oversight.

This fund has continued to come under increased scrutiny, as it is allowed to allocate unlimited funds to cover government liability in lawsuits and is not subject to the annual appropriations process. The Judgement Fund Transparency Act would provide hardworking taxpayers and members of Congress the ability to see exactly how tax dollars are being spent on these litigation expenses. 

In February of 2015, The Washington Examiner published an editorial praising Senator Fischer’s bill:

“Senators Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Deb Fischer, R-Neb., are co-sponsoring a bill that would fix this problem and bring transparency to the Judgment Fund, the treasury account that pays judgments and settlements to plaintiffs. The Judgment Fund Transparency Act is just two pages long. It simply requires the Treasury Department to make public through its website the details of every payment the fund makes… The bill deserves broad bipartisan support. For anyone who believes in government transparency, it's a no-brainer.”

Click here to view text of the bill.


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