Good News at Last on the Iraq Reconstruction Process: Halliburton Held Accountable

On September 7th the Defense Department announced that it was cutting off its contract with Halliburton for logistical support for the troops and putting the work up for competitive bidding. Common Cause has repeatedly protested the administration’s awarding of no-bid contracts, especially to Halliburton. We consider this move good news that will save taxpayers money and improve support for our troops, even as we are mindful of the passing of a grim milestone of 1,000 U.S military deaths in Iraq.

Since the end of “major combat operations,” we have issued reports, congressional testimony, and editorials calling for more transparency in the reconstruction process. In fact, the creation of an inspector general position in Iraq was one of our first victories in this campaign. And it won’t be the last!

We are going to keep the focus on Iraq through our new report – Eye on Iraq: Holding Accountable Unchecked Private Contracting. This report was made possible by your generous financial support. Two weeks ago we asked for your help in raising $21,000 in three weeks. We are happy to report that as of today we have already raised $22,060, and for that effort we couldn’t be more grateful.

Eye on Iraq: Holding Accountable Unchecked Private Contracting, part of our Holding Power Accountable series, highlights findings of ongoing investigations by federal agencies into the administration’s contracting procedures in the early stages of the reconstruction in Iraq. And, as you will see, the preliminary findings are quite disturbing. For example, the inspector general in Iraq reported the following after auditing hundreds of reconstruction contracts worth billions of dollars:

.[contracting officials in Iraq] had not issued standard operating procedures or developed an effective contract review, tracking, and monitoring system. In addition, contract files were missing and incomplete. Further, contracting officers did not always ensure that contract prices were fair and reasonable, contractors were capable of meeting delivery schedules, and payments were made in accordance with contract requirements.

How could this have happened?

Over the next few months we will do more reports and grassroots lobbying on this issue. We want to bring transparency to the reconstruction process in Iraq, and help put an end to the shameful management and political favoritism that has plagued the process so far. We want Iraqis to become more involved in the process of rebuilding their country. And, finally, we want Iraq to eventually become self-dependant so American troops can come home. And with your help, we are confident we can have a powerful impact.

Thank you again for all you do.