Saturday, May 13, 2006

Found: Provision in Iraq bill to shield reconstruction spending from US auditors

Congress quietly adds provision to bar inspector general from auditing spending

"The Senate last week approved $109 billion in additional spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $1.5 billion in added Iraq reconstruction money," the Wall Street Journal begins in a page four story Wednesday. "The administration has spent $20.9 billion to reconstruct Iraq's infrastructure and modernize its oil industry, but the effort hasn't restored the country's electricity output, water supply or sewage capabilities to prewar levels."

Writes the Journal: "A behind-the-scenes battle among legislators has made a crucial distinction between the new reconstruction money and that already spent: The new funds won't be overseen by the government watchdog charged with curbing the mismanagement that has overshadowed the reconstruction."

"Special inspector general, Stuart Bowen, who has 55 auditors on the ground in Iraq, will be barred from overseeing how the new money is spent," the Journal adds. "Instead, the funds will be overseen by the State Department's inspector general office, which has a much smaller staff in Iraq and warned in testimony to Congress in the fall that it lacked the resources to continue oversight activities in Iraq."

The move comes just two weeks after an American contractor was convicted for admitting a bribe-for-jobs scheme in Iraq.


Post a Comment

<< Home