WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) today spoke on the Senate floor ahead of consideration of their amendment calling for asset seizure for Ukraine reconstruction.
The Graham-Whitehouse amendment allows the sale and proceeds from assets - including seized mega-yachts, private jets, mansions, and expensive art - from sanctioned Russian oligarchs and entities supporting Putin to be used to the benefit of the Ukrainian people.
Ukrainian President Zelensky has called on nations to use seized assets to help pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. The provisions outlined in the Graham-Whitehouse amendment would make Putin and his cronies pay for the infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and homes his military has destroyed without any cost to the American taxpayer. The amendment applies to sanctioned persons already designated for malign activity outlined in executive orders and for those who facilitate Putin’s war efforts.
“I’m very pleased the Senate unanimously adopted my amendment with Senator Whitehouse to allow assets seized from sanctioned Russian oligarchs and entities supporting Putin to be used to the benefit of the Ukrainian people,” said Senator Graham. “This change in U.S. law allows the proceeds of seized assets to support Ukrainian war efforts, which is a win-win for the people of Ukraine and the American taxpayer. I expect over time billions of dollars in seized assets will be sent to help Ukraine in their fight for freedom. Our amendment also takes pressure off the American taxpayer.”
“President Zelenskyy’s address last night was a reminder of what Senator Graham and I have believed from the earliest days – victory for Ukraine can be achieved with our continued support. My amendment with Senator Graham gives the Biden administration authority to transfer the proceeds from recovered Russian oligarch assets back to the victims in Ukraine. It unlocks billions of dollars for the Ukrainian people to rebuild their schools, hospitals, homes, and critical infrastructure that Putin’s military has destroyed – all at no cost to the American taxpayer,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Thank you also to Senators Blumenthal and Bennet and Representatives Malinowski and Wilson for helping us get this provision over the finish line.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has a variety of tools to go after these assets, both criminal and civil. This amendment does not impact the tools DOJ has at its disposal to go after the assets of Russian oligarchs – it impacts what is done with those assets.