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November 03, 2006

Who killed the Iraq reconstruction audit?

The US agency responsible for monitoring fraud and waste in the Iraq reconstruction effort has been "mysteriously" axed. The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction will be shut down in 2007, thanks to an obscure clause in a military spending bill. The office unconvered billions of dollars in government waste in Iraq and obtained several criminal convictions.

According to the BBC, US lawmakers were shocked that the Iraq audit office was slated for elimination. Nobody seems to know who introduced the killer clause:

Republican Senator Susan Collins told the New York Times she was mystified about how the termination clause had found its way into the bill. Senator John Warner, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the newspaper he would push for an extension of Mr Bowen's charter. [BBC]

According to the Chicago Tribune, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee terminated the audit in a closed-door meeting:

The provision, inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of their Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference on the bill, has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea the line was in the final legislation.[CTrib]

Typical Republican management style.


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From the New York Times.

"The termination language was inserted into the bill by Congressional staff members working for Duncan Hunter, the California Republican who is the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and who declared on Monday that he plans to run for president in 2008."

It said in the article that it was Duncan Hunter's staffer, and that's what I heard on the radio. Is there any reason to assume Hunter is not behind it? Though I wouldn't be surprised if staffers stuck things into bills on their own initiative that nobody ever found out about. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if janitors snuck things into bills during house-senate reconciliations.

Those damn sneaky staffers, it's a wonder Congressmen are responsible for anything that gets put into bills!

They intervied the guy running the audit on CSPAN this morning though I missed the interview. I'm sure there is a transcript.

What we can deduce from this story, in the subtext, is that something criminal is taking place, systematically, in the reconstruction money being sent to Iraq.

It's so serious that it must be covered up by whatever means necessary.

What ever happened to the old..."sunshine is the best disinfectant...?"

San Diego County corruption scores again! First it's Duke, now it's Duncan....

Past a certain point shamelessness goes from appalling to funny. Watching the GOP lately is like watching chimpanzees at the zoo copulate. Get some popcorn and enjoy the show!

When the conference committee version of a bill is finished, it should go online, and then there should be a minimum of 3 weeks before the vote. (If it's changed again, then announce the change and add another 3 weeks.)

That way, things couldn't just be snuck into our laws.

Seriously, if I worked on the Hill in any capacity, I would slip provisions into every bill like "No pants Tuesday: from now on, no one in America can wear pants on Tuesdays." For normal people, this would get old quickly. But not for me.

It will be left to the courts to decide if "no pants tuesday" means that everyone has to wear a skirt or whether we all just have to go porky-pigging it.

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