U.S. Government Accountability Office Declares Trump Administration’s Withholding of Funds to Ukraine Violated Law
The U.S. Government Accountability office has declared the “[Office of Management and Budget] OMB violated the [Impoundment Control Act] ICA when it withheld [Department of Defense’s] DOD’s [Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative] USAI funds from obligation for policy reasons.”
In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget withheld funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for security assistance to Ukraine. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) “is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress”, and as a result of their review of this withholding “conclude that OMB withheld the funds… for an unauthorized reason in violation of the ICA.” The ICA requires that “[w]henever the President [or] the Director of the Office of Management and Budget… defer any budget authority provided for a specific purpose or project, the President shall transmit to the House of Representatives and the Senate… the amount of the budget authority proposed to be deferred;… the period of time during which the budget authority is proposed to be deferred;… [and] the reasons for the proposed deferral”.
Thomas Armstrong, General Counsel for the U.S. GAO, commented how “[t]he President has narrow, limited authority to withhold appropriations under the Impoundment Control Act”, and “the Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld approximately $214 million appropriated to DOD for security assistance to Ukraine.”