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Congress rejects proposal to investigate Iraq's war profiteers
7 April 2005

WASHINGTON, April 7 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- A U.S. Senate committee approved a proposal last night from President Bush for an additional $80.5 billion to fund the war in Iraq. At the same time, it voted against a proposal from Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) to investigate the numerous allegations of fraud and profiteering by military contactors in the war-ravaged nation.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved the new spending package without significant debate. The full Senate is expected to approve it within a month.

At least ten military audits have criticized Halliburton's Iraq spending. At one point, Pentagon auditors reported that 43 percent of the company's expenditures could not be verified by normal accounting procedures. Nevertheless, the Pentagon ignored the auditors' complaints and agreed to pay all the costs to Halliburton anyway. Moreover, the FBI is investigating complaints by a senior Pentagon official who said the Army illegally favors Halliburton's KBR subsidiary during the bidding process for Iraq contracts.

The additional spending pushes military costs for Iraq and Afghanistan to more than $100 billion for the 2005 fiscal year. The money is the fourth supplemental request approved outside the regular budget for Iraq and Afghanistan and would bring total emergency spending approved since 2003 to about $280 billion, Bloomberg News reported.

"I'm pleased to support the funding, but I'm increasingly concerned about how it is spent," Sen. Dorgan said. The amendment he offered, which was voted down, would have created an oversight committee modeled after the highly-regarded "Truman Committee," established during World War II to protect taxpayers from unscrupulous war profiteers and flawed contracting procedures that artificially inflate costs. According to the nonprofit Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Truman Committee was launched with just $15,000, but may have saved in excess of $15 billion during the wars with Germany and Japan. The Truman Committee is often described as the most successful government investigation effort in U.S. history because of the billions of dollars it saved.

As of December 31, the Pentagon has spent $117 billion on Iraq since the March 2003 invasion, according to Bloomberg, or an average of $4.1 billion a month. About $42 billion has been spent on Afghanistan operations, with another $22 billion on U.S. military homeland security patrols since the Sept. 11 attacks.