Steven Moore, a former congressional staffer who heads up the Ukraine Freedom Project, is working to keep Republican legislators committed to providing billions in arms and financial assistance to Kiev. Moore’s task is becoming more challenging as Americans turn against providing Ukraine with an endless supply of weapons and dollars.
A poll released by CNN earlier this month showed 55% of Americans were opposed to sending additional aid to Ukraine. That number was driven by nearly three-quarters of Republicans against Congress approving more spending on the war.
The poll was released shortly before the White House announced a request for Congress to approve another $24 billion in aid to Ukraine. President Joe Biden included domestic emergency funds in the package to help make it politically more tenable.
However, a growing number of Republican lawmakers are beginning to shift their views on Ukraine to reflect their constituents. Moore, who formerly worked for a minority whip in the House, is striving to keep support for Ukraine as close to unanimous as possible.
According to Politico, Moore sees it as his role to prevent Republican lawmakers from being influenced by their war-weary constituents.
Moore has “cultivated a vast network of government officials, NGOs and engaged people in Ukraine and Washington, his work gives him the kind of firsthand, on-the ground insight into the conflict that can be very persuasive on his frequent trips to the U.S. capital,” Politico reports. Adding, “Republican politicos consider him one of the most powerful behind-the-scenes advocates for Ukraine.”
One argument Moore deploys when speaking with Republican legislatures is claiming the money the US is spending in Ukraine has been effective in dismantling the Russian military. “If you’re a fiscal conservative, you know this is a great use of taxpayer dollars. And not one single American soldier has had to die,” Moore told Politico without mentioning the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian casualties.
Votes on amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act suggest the White House will have ample bipartisan support to pass its new $24 billion aid request for Ukraine. However, a growing number of American lawmakers have become concerned about corruption in Kiev.
Moore has attempted to downplay the massive corruption in Kiev, saying the Zelensky administration is working to combat it. Last week, Zelensky was forced to fire the heads of all local recruitment centers after an investigation uncovered rampant illegal bribery of officials during Ukraine’s general mobilization.
Moore has a history of manipulating politics behind the scenes. In 1996, Moore worked with his father, Greg Gorton, on Boris Yeltsin’s re-election campaign for Russian president. As advisers, Moore and Gorton exploited the Russian political system to help Washington’s preferred candidate, Yeltsin, to win reelection.
Now, Moore appears to spend a lot of his time in Ukraine sending emails from cafes in Kiev. While Moore downplays any financial motives for running the Ukraine Freedom Project, he told Roll Call earlier this year he exploits his location in Kiev to generate business. Moore is doing business development work for a friend’s company back in the States. “I start my [pitch] emails ‘Greetings from Kyiv,’ which usually gets you an [email] open,” he said.