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Senators Lankford, Fischer Introduce Bill to Provide Transparency for Lawsuits Against US, Payments Made to Iran

WASHINGTON, DC – On the one-year anniversary of the Iran Nuclear Agreement, Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) today introduced the Judgment Fund Transparency and Terrorism Financing Prevention Act, a bill to provide transparency and accountability for questionable taxpayer-funded payments to foreign nations, like Iran.

Specifically, the bill requires additional details on payments from the Treasury Department’s Judgment Fund, which pays domestic and international court judgments and Justice Department compromise settlements of actual or imminent lawsuits against the government. The bill would also prohibit U.S. taxpayer dollars from being paid out to state sponsors of terrorism, like Iran.

“One year after the Iran Nuclear agreement, we still have the same concerns with Iran,” said Lankford. “Iran continues to spread terrorism and a radical Islamist ideology around the region. President Obama’s billion-dollar payment to Iran in January, which we now know will fund Iran’s military expansion, is an appalling example of Executive Branch governance. The bill Senator Fischer and I have introduced will provide the American public with necessary details of the dangerous billion-dollar payment to Iran and ensure that no taxpayer dollars are ever again used to fund the extremist and violent ambitions of rogue nations like Iran. Subsidizing Iran’s military is perhaps the worst use of taxpayer dollars ever by an American president.”

“Hardworking American families have every right to see exactly how their tax dollars are being spent, especially when used to fund hostile enemies of the United States,” said Fischer. “That is why I’m proud to join Senator Lankford to offer a new version of the Judgment Fund Transparency Act, which includes greater oversight of taxpayer-funded payments to foreign nations. More transparency leads to greater accountability and through this bill, we can hold our government to task for their actions. We should not be in the business of providing funds to state sponsors of terrorism.”

In January, the Obama Administration announced it would pay Iran $1.7 billion to settle cases of foreign military sales totaling $400 million, dating back to the time of the Shah of Iran. The State Department announced the billion-dollar cash transfer just hours after several Americans held prisoner were released by Iran.

In addition to the $400 million cash transfer to Iran’s central bank, the Obama Administration also paid Iran $1.3 billion in “interest.”  This $1.3 billion came out of the taxpayer-funded Judgment Fund, but details of this cash transfer are still obscure.  Iran’s central bank transferred $1.7 billion to the Iranian military in May.

On April 6, Lankford introduced a Senate resolution to ensure President Obama follows through on his commitment to reimpose sanctions if Iran violates the Nuclear Deal. In June, Lankford secured a provision in the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill to require the Administration to provide more details on the $1.7 billion legal settlement payment to Iran in January. The legislation awaits a vote on the Senate floor later this year.

Senator Lankford serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee and Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations. Senator Fischer serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.