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Audit finds lax oversight in contractor payments

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by BrAinPaiNt, May 23, 2008.

  1. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    Link



    By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 17 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON - An internal audit of some $8 billion paid to U.S. and Iraqi contractors found that nearly every transaction failed to comply with federal laws or regulations aimed at preventing fraud, in some cases lacking even basic invoices explaining how the money was spent.

    Of the money paid during a five-year period — from 2001 through 2006 — $7.8 billion in payments skirted billing rules with some violations egregious enough to invite potential fraud, warned the Defense Department's inspector general.

    The findings provided fresh fodder for anti-war Democrats, who say the Bush administration has turned a blind eye to the problem of corruption and fraud by relying too heavily on contractors to manage the war.

    "There is something very wrong when our wounded troops have to fill out forms in triplicate for meal money while billions of dollars in cash are handed out in Iraq with no accountability," said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

    Results of the investigation were released at a committee hearing on Thursday, the same day the House approved legislation by Waxman intended to strengthen anti-fraud measures and increase transparency in contracting. Waxman's bill was passed as part of a major military policy bill, which authorizes $601.4 billion in defense spending.

    In its report, the IG estimated the Army made more than 180,000 commercial payments from stations in Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt in the five-year period. The payments were made for various supplies and services, including bottled water, food and trucks.

    In one example, $11 million was paid to a U.S. company without any record of what goods or services were provided, the IG wrote.

    Overall, investigators estimated that the Army made some $1.4 billion in commercial payments that lacked even minimum supporting documentation, such as a certified voucher or invoice.

    "Payments that are not properly supported do not provide the necessary assurance that funds were used as intended," the IG concluded.
  2. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Interesting how no one takes a hard look at contractors in the US like Aliant Tech that runs the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri.
    Their record was terrible as regards quality and has not improved much. But they paid enough to the politicians so that no one asks questions.
    Look at virtually every department of the US Government that has contracted out anything and you will find things are just about as bad- just less obvious.

    For Brain just to make him madder about Byrd= some years ago Talon got in big trouble for not destroying unserviceable military ammunition but selling it = one of the owners was a close relation to Byrd and it got silenced.
  3. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Seriously, who didn't see this coming?
  4. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    We have precisely the same problem in my industry; while and an especially naughty company may receive a slap on the wrist it is allowed to continue with business as usual due to certain key relationships. I won't even mention their forays into helping write legislation. Oops, I just did. The adulterous alliance betwixt mega businesses and politicians warrants much closer scrutiny across the board.
  5. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    Business as usual in this country. If this is the case, I want this money recovered...

    Then I want EVERY contract reviewed and I want that money back too. It's convenient to cherry pick the war effort when this has been going on for decades in this country. Members of both parties have been lining their friends pockets for years without blinking an eye and bilking the American people out of billions...

    It's time our congress became as accountable as we have to be to run our own tiny home governments.

    I won't hold my breath... :rolleyes:
  6. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    :bow: :bow:
  7. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    Of course there has been no oversight in how our money is spent in Iraq; keeping an eye on the contractors would mean that Dubya's buddies at Halliburton couldn't make their accustomed outrageous profits...

    The irony in that is all the money we've wasted "liberating" Iraq has been a major contributory factor to the economic woes we're currently experiencing; but for that war, deficit spending would be a fraction of what it is...
  8. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    Wow, we're actually on the same side of this one... but aren't you making your money working as a defense contractor??

    If I'm right about that, I REALLY applaud your stance here...
  9. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    I'd take it a step further, trick; any contractor found engaging in fraud should have any existing contracts voided, and be barred from bidding on future government contracts for a fixed period of time... then if there are subsequent violations once their right to bid has been reinstated, they would be permanently barred from bidding...

    It's time our congress became as accountable as we have to be to run our own tiny home governments.

    Like you, I'm not just talking about the Iraq war, I'm talking about ANY government contracts... there should be watchdogs in place to ensure that the taxpayers are not getting price gouged, and that the contractors are delivering the goods promised in a timely fashion...
  10. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    I agree 100%... if these contractors were severely penalized instead of given a "wink-wink" it would put an end to this fraud...
  11. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    I've also advocated totally revising the bid system in America, to one more in line with what the Japanese do-- accept sealed bids, and when you open them, immediately throw out the high bid (on the theory that bidder's trying to gouge the government) and the low bid (on the theory that bidder's trying to cut too many corners)... then take the remaining bids, and average them together... the bid that comes closest to the average wins the contract...

    This encourages bidders to work at coming up with a FAIR price, if they want the business...

    I think if you made both of these approaches law, you'd go a long way toward eliminating waste and fraud in the government...
  12. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    What is the big problem is all the money that the contractors send to the politicians. why do you think contracting out got so popular over the last 20 years? Every single study done (not that there are that many- gee what a surprise) shows that quality of work goes down and the expenses go up whenever anything is contracted out. there might be a few exceptions, but not many.
  13. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    just pointing something out - you rail "dub-ya" cause that's what you do. you smash the iraqi effort cause *you* hate it so it must be wrong. you get in a halliburton jab and whoah to the world the profits they make.

    then you applaud someone for saying it happens all over the place, not just iraq.

    which is it? dub-ya and iraq, or crappy government oversight that's allows us to pay thousands for toilet seats and screwdrivers long before bush came into town?

    you just seem to get real selective in what you see and focus on.
  14. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    Unfortunately, this process preceeded Bush. The military is the worst offender. The military typically signs contracts with shipyards where the bid amounts are not adhered to. If the project goes over budget, the shipyard simply bills the government for the entire amount plus profit. If the shipyard messes something up, the taxpayers also have to pay for that. The only stipulation is the shipyard cannot make a profit off of fixing something they messed up. :rolleyes:

    I don't see how anyone would think it would be different just because Haliburton was involved.
  15. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    The government should also enforce these contracts once they are awarded. Basically, you get the job done on time and you get paid the amount of the bid. If the project costed more than you thought - too bad! If the job is not done on time, you get fined. If the product is of poor quality, you fix it or get fined (or sued).

    Government agency should also be required to keep detailed records and maintain receipts just like they require of corporations. I find it unacceptable that most of the government agencies still cannot balance their books.
  16. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    hate log on the hate fire. common sense need not apply.
  17. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    The military is not the worst offender- anyone thinking that has not noticed all the other garbage going on.

    IF the contracts were written correctly; and IF they were enforced; maybe it would work out. But NEITHER is done.

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