This story has been out there for over a year, but a Pentagon audit--miraculously appearing on Friday before a three-day weekend--bumps it to the top again.
From today's NYTimes (via Eschaton):
A Pentagon audit of $8.2 billion in American taxpayer money spent by the United States Army on contractors in Iraq has found that almost none of the payments followed federal rules and that in some cases, contracts worth millions of dollars were paid for despite little or no record of what, if anything, was received.
The audit also found a sometimes stunning lack of accountability in the way the United States military spent some $1.8 billion in seized or frozen Iraqi assets, which in the early phases of the conflict were often doled out in stacks or pallets of cash. The audit was released Thursday in tandem with a Congressional hearing on the payments.
In one case, according to documents displayed by Pentagon auditors at the hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a cash payment of $320.8 million in Iraqi money was authorized on the basis of a single signature and the words “Iraqi Salary Payment” on an invoice. In another, $11.1 million of taxpayer money was paid to IAP, an American contractor, on the basis of a voucher with no indication of what was delivered.
Mary L. Ugone, the Pentagon’s deputy inspector general for auditing, told members of the committee that the absence of anything beyond a voucher meant that “we were giving or providing a payment without any basis for the payment.”
“We don’t know what we got,” Ms. Ugone said in response to questions by the committee chairman, Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California.
And yes, this is a Republican scandal, root and twig--at least it should be a scandal and it's definitely of Republican making--since inexperienced GOP operatives did their best to screen everyone connected with the Coalition Provisional Authority for proper political affiliation.
So much for the party of fiscal responsibility. Nothing wrong with this administration that a good RICO investigation couldn't get to the bottom of.
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