Since being betrayed and booted out of Congress by the opposition party he joined hands with, Adam Kinzinger has spent most of his time trashing anyone who doesn’t want to send the totality of US GDP to Ukraine. To say he tolerates zero critical thinking and nuance regarding the war is an understatement. If one even breathes in the direction of something other than total subservience to Ukrainian President Volydymr Zelensky, Kinzinger launches into a tirade.
But did his unwavering zeal to support Ukraine get the better of him? A Ukraine-centered non-profit is currently under federal investigation, and Kinzinger just so happens to sit on the board of the company.
I’m not making any direct accusations here, but this is not a good look for the former congressman.
Kinzinger was ON THE BOARD of the Ukraine org that scammed people out of millions of dollars! https://t.co/xSXHOyK25b
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) March 25, 2023
The story starts with a man named James Vasquez who allegedly lied about his background. Vasquez was heavily promoted by Kinzinger online (the two also met in person). Further, Vasquez works for (or did until recently) an organization called “Ripley’s Heroes,” which purports to buy and send military equipment to Ukraine such as night vision goggles and communications devices.
Here’s some background from The Post Millennial about how Vasquez’s story fell apart.
Former Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger advocated for Vasquez, urging Twitter to verify his account, and posed in pictures with him.
Only the story of Vasquez joining the Ukrainian Army turned out to be fake. “Kinzinger’s favorite Ukraine hero just deleted his account after it came out he is a fraud,” Jack Posobiec said.
Malcolm Nance, also a supporter of Vasquez, responded to the allegations against Vasquez, as revealed by a current member of the Ukrainian armed forces, saying that he and others had advised Vasquez to “get off Twitter, get his life in order & come back to support [Ukraine] in a legal construct. He took that advice.
Now, Ripley’s Heroes is under federal investigation for allegedly misappropriating funds and making illegal shipments to Ukraine. Kinzinger is on the Board of Advisors for the organization.
Last spring, a volunteer group called Ripley’s Heroes said it had spent approximately $63,000 on night-vision and thermal optics. Some of the equipment was subject to American export restrictions because, in the wrong hands, it could give enemies a battlefield advantage.
Frontline volunteers said Ripley’s delivered the equipment to Ukraine without required documentation listing the actual buyers and recipients. Recently, the federal authorities began investigating the shipments, U.S. officials said.
In his defense, the group’s founder, a retired U.S. Marine named Lt. Col. Hunter Ripley Rawlings IV, provided deal documents to The Times. But those records show that, just as the volunteers said, Ripley’s was not disclosed to the State Department as the buyer.
Believe it or not, I’m not even suggesting that Kinzinger was in on whatever scheme was being run here. A board of advisors is typically there to advise the board, but it’s possible he knew nothing about the actual decisions being made behind the scenes. So while it’d be easy to dunk on Kinzinger as a probable crook, I suspect that’s not what’s happening here.
Rather, I think Kinzinger is a fame-seeking hack who jumped at the first opportunity to appear more in tune with the war in Ukraine. That meant taking this board seat without doing any due diligence or ensuring the organization he was serving was on the up and up. His childish disposition also led him to cozy up to Vasquez.
Kinzinger, who flew KC-135 tankers in the Air Force, has been desperate to attach himself to whatever valor exists regarding the Ukrainian fight against Russia. Well, except for actually going to fight. He’d rather just advocate for sending unlimited amounts of taxpayer money. But the point is that he likely got sucked in here as he has been in the past. Remember, this is the guy who spread the “Ghost of Kyiv” nonsense and shared a picture of Sam Hyde suggesting he was the non-existent pilot.
We’ll see with this story leads, but Kinzinger probably should take a step back after this one.
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