Money Well Spent

Read this.

Then, read this.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. government is at risk of squandering significantly more money in an Iraq war and reconstruction effort that has already wasted, overcharged or poorly tracked $10 billion in taxpayer money, federal investigators said Thursday.

The three top auditors overseeing contract work in Iraq told a House committee that Defense and State department officials condoned or otherwise allowed poor accounting, repeated work delays, bloated expenses and payments for work shoddily or never done by U.S. contractors.

That problem could worsen, the Government Accountability Office said, given limited improvement so far by the Department of Defense even as the Bush administration prepares to boost the U.S. presence in Iraq.

David M. Walker, comptroller general of the GAO, Congress' auditing arm, said his agency has been pointing out problems for years, only to be largely ignored or given lip service with little result.

"There is no accountability," Walker said. "Organizations charged with overseeing contracts are not held accountable. Contractors are not held accountable. The individuals responsible are not held accountable."
Well, isn't it about time that someone is held accountable? How long will the people responsible for, and profiting from this complete trainwreck be allowed to brush this off?
Senate Democrats, calling recently cited cases of waste "outrageous rip-offs of the American taxpayer," quickly moved to introduce legislation Thursday to stiffen punishment for war profiteers and cut down on cronyism in contracting.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and 22 other senators, would impose penalties of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million for war profiteering and restore a rule that prohibits awarding federal contracts to companies exhibiting a pattern of breaking the law in performance of government contracts.

That rule, put in place by President Clinton, was dropped by the Bush administration upon taking office, Dorgan said.

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