Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R- IL) has been one of the major figures of Republican opposition to former President Donald Trump. The former member of Congress has been outspoken in his support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, though newly revealed information links him with an organization that was allegedly involved with scams related to the war.
Kinzinger served on the board of Ripley’s Heroes, which was ostensibly raising money for Ukraine. The organization is currently under federal investigation over what may amount to more than a million dollars of dubious donations.
The organization gained notoriety in 2022 when it announced that it was sending tens of thousands of dollars of optics and night-vision equipment to Ukraine. The export of such technology is heavily restricted due to its sensitive nature.
Was Adam Kinzinger a party to a massive fraud scheme? Sure seems cozy with these guys, who visited his office in September. https://t.co/I9o2wj8XgY
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) March 25, 2023
Much of the information comes to us through recent revelations about James Vazquez, who claimed to be fighting for Ukraine. However, in recent weeks, Vazquez’s story has come under considerable scrutiny.
The fighter was backed by Kinzinger in a number of public statements. Kinzinger pushed for Twitter to verify Vazquez’s account. Now, it appears that Vazquez was instead lying about his record in both the United States military and his time in Ukraine.
Vazquez became one of the major faces of foreign fighters in Ukraine, as well as Ripley’s Heroes. Much of Vazquez’s story has drawn considerable attention.
Vazquez, originally from Connecticut, claimed that he left his job to fight in Ukraine. He was one of the primary fundraisers for Ripley’s Heroes. However, Vazquez’s story does not add up under closer investigation.
He claimed to leave the military as a sergeant that served in Kuwait during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and fought in the 2003 Iraq War. However, Vazquez had not been deployed outside of the United States, according to the Pentagon. He left the Army Reserve as a private first class.
Rather than fighting in the Ukrainian military, Vazquez fought for Da Vinci’s Wolves, a radical organization. Since his story has been more closely reviewed, Vazquez stated that he may leave the country after Ukraine discovered that he was not a member of the country’s armed forces.
The concern about aid heading to Ukraine also coincides with a recent Pentagon war game that showed that such transfers could leave the United States in a deficit of ammunition in case of war.