McConnell, Braun call for investigation into charitable bail organizations receiving taxpayer dollars

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EXCLUSIVE: Republican senators want a government investigation into taxpayer dollars funding charitable bail organizations that get accused criminals out of jail before their court hearings. 

Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky authored a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Tuesday asking the nonpartisan, fact-finding body to dig into nonprofits that provide bail services.

Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“We are deeply concerned about the prospect of taxpayer dollars being allocated to nonprofit entities that post bail for individuals but are not held liable to the same standards as traditional bail agents within their jurisdiction,” the senators wrote in a letter to the GAO obtained first by Fox News Digital.

The senators want a list of federally funded nonprofits that provide bail services, how much taxpayer dollars they receive and whether there’s any existing restrictions on using federal dollars to get people charged with crimes out of jail.

Braun Letter to GAO by Fox News on Scribd

The request comes amid a spike in violent crime, progressive bail reforms in places like New York and high-profile incidents in both the senators’ home states where charitable groups posted bailed for alleged criminals. 

In Indianapolis last year, the nonprofit organization The Bail Project posted bail for individuals that went on to commit murder while they were on pretrial release. The Bail Project received $250,000 from the city of Indianapolis and the Central Indiana Community Foundation, according to the local Fox 59 affiliate.

Quintez Brown, 21, is charged with attempted murder and four counts of wanton endangerment. 
(Louisville Department of Corrections)

And in McConnell’s home state, Black Lives Matter (BLM) Louisville reportedly teamed up with the Louisville Community Bail Fund to post bail for Quintez Brown, the suspect in the shooting of mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg. Brown allegedly tried to assassinate Greenberg at the candidate’s campaign headquarters in the Butchertown area of Louisville, Kentucky.

The senators say it’s “appropriate” for the GAO to commission a study on these groups so “Congress may identify funds being misappropriated to serve unintended purposes.”

Unlike Republicans sending letters to the Biden administration that go ignored since they are in the minority party, the GAO does not take politics into account and treats “both sides of the aisle equally,” according to GAO spokesperson Chuck Young. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters after a Republican strategy meeting at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The GAO has received the bail investigation request and will go through the usual review process before any decisions are made, which typically takes a couple of weeks, Young said. 

The review process would look into practical things, such as ensuring another body of the government isn’t already investigating and whether the GAO can get needed access to the papers. 

“We do accept most congressional requests so long as it comes from the relevant committee that has jurisdiction,” Young told Fox News Digital. 

Braun and McConnell were joined in the letter by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the top Republican on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee.

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