U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today introduced the Judgment Fund Transparency and Terrorism Financing Prevention Act. Their bill would ensure much-needed oversight of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Judgment Fund and prohibit taxpayer-funded payments to nations that sponsor terrorism.

Currently, the Judgment Fund is allowed to allocate unlimited amounts of taxpayer dollars, with little oversight, to cover government liability. In 2016, the fund was also used to deliver $1.3 billion to Iran’s Central Bank.

“The Obama administration’s troubling ransom payment to Iran last year underscored the dire need for something I have advocated for years: greater transparency and oversight of the Judgment Fund. With clearer oversight of this fund, Congress can effectively track taxpayer dollars and encourage responsible foreign policies that protect the American people,” said Senator Fischer, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

The bill requires that information on Judgment Fund payments for domestic or international court judgments be made public. The Obama administration used the Judgment Fund to pay billions of dollars to foreign state-sponsors of terrorism, like Iran, and to make payments to cover losses incurred by health insurances providers, something Congress explicitly banned in the 2015 budget deal. 

Fischer and Lankford introduced this legislation last Congress. 

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