Something happened recently that the national media has largely ignored.
Former three term Gov. George Pataki, R-N.Y., has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. No other single person has done more than Pataki for humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.
While U.S. taxpayers have footed an enormous bill through the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), there is very little, if any, evidence of that assistance actually reaching the long-suffering Ukrainian people.
What is making a difference are the needed supplies getting to the Ukrainian people through Pataki’s efforts.
He works with churches, synagogues, and other faith based organizations, and does so concertedly.
In recent years, Ukraine has been plagued by war and political turmoil; its people are in dire need of humanitarian aid.
AID has budgeted and spent billions to support Ukrainian relief efforts.
However, as someone who recently participated in a humanitarian relief trip to Ukraine led by Mr. Pataki, I can attest that the help the Ukrainian people have received has come from private sector faith-based groups like Pataki's George Pataki Leadership Center, not from AID.
New York's former chief executive and his team have made several trips to Ukraine to provide assistance. They have included, for example, Rabbi Arthur Schneier's Appeal of Conscience Foundation.
On the ground, the Pataki-led initiative is making a real difference.
On the most recent trip to the troubled region, Pataki and Ambassador Earle Mack provided enough heaters to provide warmth to 100,000 Ukrainians.
Additionally, Pataki worked closely with the Knights of Malta, providing logistical support in order to ensure that all necessary supplies and relief are reaching the war-torn country.
These efforts of Pataki’s have not gone unnoticed. Now, he has been officially nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In one of the nominations to the Norwegian Nobel Institute, U.S. Representative Joe Wilson says, "In only two weeks following the invasion, Governor Pataki was already leading efforts to provide humanitarian relief to 200,000 Ukrainian refugees.
"His follow-on missions have concentrated on efforts to fund, source and build temporary homes for refugees, as well as continuing to provide food, clothing, and medical supplies."
Consider the words of Andrij Dobriansky, Representative of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, who has worked with Pataki to deliver humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees.
He praised the nomination saying Pataki’s efforts "have come as a surprise to a community not accustomed to witnessing such an extraordinary level of personal dedication towards aiding those in need and restoring the basic rights of citizens no matter where they live."
Unfortunately, on Pataki’s last trip, we saw no evidence of AID's efforts.
And when you ask the Ukrainian people if they've seen AID or have received needed supplies from the U.S. government, their response is a clear "No!"
The help they've received has come from Pataki and similar private sector faith-based groups.
This reality mandates that a critically important question be asked, and that it's asked sooner rather than later: "What has AID done with the money for Ukrainian humanitarian relief? Where has it gone?"
AID funds should be audited and spent properly.
It's imperative that our federal government takes immediate action to ensure that the help intended for the Ukrainian people is reaching them in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
As U.S. Representative Wilson said to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, "We have previously seen Governor Pataki in times of crisis.
"As the New York Governor on September 11, 2001, he helped lead the State and New York City out of that tragic day.
"He set up the command center in New York City, and worked for days, weeks and years to put New York back on its feet."
Wilson summed it up best when he said, "Governor Pataki’s whole life has focused on preserving and maintaining the peace and freedom of others."
During 9/11 his approach to that crisis was nothing short of statesmanlike.
He did much of the heavy lifting on 9/11.
His track record is a proven one. It reflects providing aid to those in need.
No private citizen has done more for Ukrainian relief efforts. He is the man for the job and is uniquely qualified to oversee the proper administration and execution of all U.S. AID humanitarian relief for Ukraine.
The Biden administration and the U.S. Congress should name George Pataki as "special master" to oversee the proper administration and execution of all U.S. AID humanitarian relief funds for Ukraine. This will ensure that the hard-earned tax dollars of Americans are reaching where the need is the greatest.
Appointing him as special master will also ensure that the aid intended for the Ukrainian people actually reaches them.
Van Hipp is Chairman of American Defense International, Inc. He is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army and author of "The New Terrorism: How to Fight It and Defeat It." He is the 2018 recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Sept. 11 Garden Leadership Award for National Security. Read Van Hipp's Reports — More Here.
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