- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2022

GOP lawmakers are demanding documents from the White House regarding its management of $1.2 trillion in bipartisan infrastructure funding as part of a larger effort to “root out waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement” within the federal government. 

Reps. James Comer of Kentucky and Sam Graves of Missouri, the top Republicans on the House Oversight and Transportation Committees respectively, say greater transparency is needed given the size and scope of the spending program approved by lawmakers last year. 

“The expansive purpose for which the funds were allocated, along with the magnitude of the expenditure, create a greater-than-usual opportunity for corruption and wasteful spending,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the administration on Tuesday, which was obtained exclusively by The Washington Times. “Ensuring that taxpayer dollars are wisely spent is especially important in today’s inflationary economy.” 

GOP lawmakers argue that the potential waste and fraud is only amplified by President Biden’s decision to go outside the normal White House hierarchy to administer the spending for roads, bridges and other local infrastructure projects. 

Mr. Biden has named Mitch Landrieu, a former mayor of New Orleans, as “infrastructure czar,” a position that does not require congressional confirmation. Mr. Landrieu will be responsible for doling out hundreds of millions of dollars to state and local governments. 

Since taking the position last November, Republicans said, Mr. Landrieu has rebuffed calls to provide a bipartisan briefing on how the taxpayer money is being spent. Mr. Landrieu has met, however, with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to discuss their priorities on infrastructure. 

The failure to hold a briefing has only heightened concerns over transparency and oversight, Republicans say. They are asking the White House to provide all documents “referring or relating to the disbursement of funds” under the infrastructure law. 

“If the Biden administration insists on such unprecedented government spending when Americans’ paychecks are stretched so thin, then the taxpayers deserve to know where their money is going,” wrote Mr. Comer and Mr. Graves. “Likewise, if the money is not going where people actually need it, Americans would likely appreciate a refund.” 

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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