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It’s Sunshine Week: Ernst Shines a Light on Biden Hiding Billions of Dollars in Secret Spending

The president proposes hiking spending while hiding where the money is going.

WASHINGTON – While the president is proposing hiking Washington spending, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is exposing how and where Biden is hiding billions of taxpayer dollars during Sunshine Week, the annual celebration of the public’s right to know what the government is doing.

The dollar amounts and details of secret deals being dished out by Biden’s deputies are not being disclosed to taxpayers as required by law, according to a new audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act mandates all “federal financial assistance and expenditures” be posted in the searchable public website But Biden’s Treasury Department, which is responsible for running the site, claims special arrangements referred to as “other transaction agreements,” or OTAs, do not need to be reported, despite what the law says. Over $40 billion in OTAs are not listed in and the amount of OTAs is growing “significantly,” GAO found. This means less transparency and less accountability of secret sweetheart deals.

To force the administration to provide the recipients, Ernst is giving her March 2024 Squeal Award to the Department of Treasury and introducing the Stop Secret Spending Act, which mandates OTAs be disclosed in and informs the public of any other secret Washington spending schemes.

“We all know there is wasteful spending everywhere you look in Washington, but Biden wants to keep you in the dark, because we can’t stop what we can’t see,” said Senator Ernst. “Thanks to USAspending, for example, I learned EcoHealth—the shady organization that shipped more than one million taxpayer dollars to the Wuhan Institute for dangerous experiments on bat coronaviruses—just received more dollars from the Department of Defense to conduct research on “high-risk pathogens. You better believe this is on my hit list to target for taxpayer savings! USAspending is taxpayers’ most valuable tool for spotting and then stopping Washington waste, and that’s why we can’t allow Biden to get away with hiding how he’s spending your hard-earned tax dollars.”

The Biden administration is also not complying with two other transparency laws, both authored by Senator Ernst:

“It’s disappointing delivering such a dim report, especially during Sunshine Week,” said Senator Ernst. “I know sunlight is the best disinfectant, because I’ve stopped billions of dollars of wasteful spending by shining a bright light on it. We defunded China’s notorious Wuhan Institute of Virology, ended subsidies to institutions in Russia, and forced SBA to recollect billions of dollars of delinquent small business loans. Biden and his bureaucrats may try to keep Americans in the dark, but when he does, taxpayers in Iowa and across the country can count on me to bring it to light and make ‘em squeal.”

“Senator Ernst again and again demonstrates her commitment to revealing and combatting wasteful spending; but government employees again and again seek avenues to keep the picture incomplete,” said Adam AndrzejewskiFounder and CEO of Open the Books. “Whether through FOIA exemptions, special transactions, or inconsistent reporting requirements, they too often work against the spirit of open government. In keeping with Sunshine Week, this legislation would help give Americans the full accounting they are owed, so that they can hold their government responsible for its spending.”

“Taxpayers have a right to know how their hard-earned money is being spent,” said Justin Goodman, Senior Vice President, White Coat Waste Project. “The USAspending database has been vital to our historic investigations that exposed and ended wasteful government spending on boondoggles like Fauci’s deadly puppy experiments and his dangerous coronavirus gain-of-function tests on humanized mice in Wuhan. We commend Senator Ernst for her ongoing leadership in efforts to improve transparency about how Uncle Sam is spending taxpayer dollars.”