Rep. Jim Banks Urges Appropriations Committee to Stop U.S. from Aiding Ukrainian NGOs Targeting Americans

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., questions witnesses during a hearing of a special House committee
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) in a letter on Tuesday urged Republican leaders on the House Appropriations Committee to stop the U.S. government from partnering with Ukrainian actors targeting Americans, after a Ukrainian non-governmental organization published an enemies list consisting of American lawmakers, think-tanks, and media figures who questioned or opposed sending more taxpayer aid to Ukraine.

Banks sent letters to Americans on the list — including X and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk — informing them that he has asked Appropriations Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) and State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL) to stop the State Department and USAID from partnering with any actors overseas who encourage the harassment of Americans.

Banks comes a day before the committee is marking up its bill to fund the State Department and USAID in fiscal year 2025.

As Breitbart News’s Kurt Zindulka recently reported, the list was compiled by the Ukraine-based DATA Journalism Agency (TEXTY), and comprised 388 individuals and 76 organizations. It included Breitbart News as one of the organizations on its list. It also included Banks, a Navy veteran and chairman of the House Armed Services Military Readiness Subcommittee.

The NGO also published a report about the list, which was titled “Roller Coaster: From Trumpists to Communists. The forces in the U.S. impeding aid to Ukraine and how they do it.”

Zindulka reported:

…the TEXTY website claims to be “independent” and that its project into supposed anti-Ukrainian sentiment in America was funded “exclusively by the readers”. However, TEXTY is listed as a partner of the Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services (TAPAS) Project in Ukraine, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UK International Development (UK Dev).

TEXTY’s co-founder and current deputy editor, Anatoly Bondarenko, is also listed as a trainer for the American State Department’s “TechCamp” program, which claims to provide “hands-on, participant-driven workshops that connect private sector technology experts with key populations — journalists, non-governmental organisations, civil society advocates, and more — to explore and apply innovative tech solutions to global issues.”

While the report admits that most mentioned in the study “do not have direct, proven ties to the Russian government or propagandists” it continues to paint a conspiratorial and supposedly interconnected web of 390 individuals and 76 organisations, with a heavy focus on those “affiliated with the Trump wing of the Republican Party.”

Banks wrote to Cole and Diaz Balart, “Federal bureaucrats should not support or partner with foreign groups that attempt to intimidate and silence U.S. citizens and lawmakers.” He added:

I am urging the Appropriations Committee majority to support efforts in the Fiscal Year 2025 SFOPS bill to force the State Department and USAID to end all relations with foreign NGOs like TEXTY that seek to silence the speech of Americans they dislike and to sway U.S. policymakers to serve their own interests.

Letters from Banks to Musk, Cole and Diaz Balart on TEXTY by Kristina Wong on Scribd

Letters from Banks to Musk, Cole and Diaz Balart on TEXTY by Kristina Wong on Scribd

Several of the listed individuals posted on X about their inclusion on the list, including filmmaker Robby Starbuck and journalist Laura Loomer.

Starbuck posted:

I was put on this list in an attempt to intimidate me because I have opposed our tax dollars funding the war in Ukraine. I’m thankful Rep. Banks is standing up for all of us who were unjustly put on this list that could endanger us and our families. It’s shameful that our own government was involved with this group that’s now targeting Americans and that the Biden Admin is doing nothing to insure the security of individuals

Loomer posted:

This letter is very relevant given that the Appropriations Committee’s markup of its bill to fund the State Department and USAID during the Fiscal Year 2025 is scheduled to take place TOMORROW, June 12, 2024. Thank you, Congressman Banks!

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