Rep. Greg Stanton this week introduced H.R. 8905, the No Taxpayer Dollars for Russian Oligarchs Act to prohibit federal funds from being used to pay for the upkeep of luxury assets—like superyachts, cars and private jets—seized in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The American taxpayer shouldn't pay for the upkeep of lavish, luxury goods stripped from kleptocrats who prop up a war criminal,” Stanton said.

In June, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was caught on a hot mic saying, "The federal government pays for upkeep because under the kind of forfeiture rubric, so like some people are basically being paid to maintain Russian superyachts on behalf of the U.S. government."

More than a dozen yachts have been seized from Russian oligarchs since the invasion began, and at least two of those were seized at the direction of the United States. These yachts, worth $2.5 billion, have to be maintained during the years-long civil forfeiture process before they be sold—and American taxpayers are footing the bill.

Maintenance bills are not inexpensive; annual upkeep for a yacht can cost 10% per year of the yacht’s overall value according to the New York Times. That can mean millions of dollars a year. Owners are supposed to pay for the upkeep, even after seizure, but few do.

The No Taxpayer Dollars for Russian Oligarchs Act would:

  • Prohibit federal funds from being used to maintain vehicular assets (yachts, jets, cars) seized in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, seized by the Department of Justice’s Task Force KleptoCapture, or linked to sanctioned Russian oligarchs and government officials;
  • Prevent owners from suing the Department of Justice for lack of maintenance;
  • Preclude the maintenance of such vehicular assets from various civil and criminal forfeiture laws;
  • Prevent the Treasury Forfeiture Fund or DOJ Assets Forfeiture Fund from being used for the maintenance of such vehicular assets.