Truman-like Commission is step toward accountability

Common Cause commends the United States Senate which voted to support an amendment that would create a commission to study and investigate wartime contracts and contracting processes in the war with Iraq. Common Cause also commends the leadership of Senator James Webb (D-VA) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who proposed this amendment.

“The alleged conduct by some American contractors, and the astounding lack of accountability for billions of taxpayer dollars on the part of the Pentagon call out for a thorough investigation by an independent, bipartisan commission,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “It is certainly in the public’s best interest to have oversight and accountability brought to this situation.”

The proposed commission would assess the extent of fraud, mismanagement, waste and misuse associated with military contracts as well as the policies, procedures, processes and performance of those contracts. The commission could also help answer critical questions about the advisability of the move to increasingly depend on civilian contractors hired to perform wartime functions.

The New York Times recently reported that $6 billion in military contracts to provide food water and shelter to American troops was under review by criminal investigators. An additional $88 billion in contracts are being audited for financial irregularities. And in 2005, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) found that nearly $9 billion in funds for Iraq was unaccounted for.