Senators Seek to Curb Contracts to Iraq, Afghanistan

Monday, 12 Sep 2011 06:09 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Republican senators have renewed efforts to curb federal contract dollars that might make their way into the hand of enemies of the United States. The move was started by Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Scott Brown of Massachusetts.
Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said that the Ayotte-Brown “No Contracting with the Enemy Act” introduced earlier this year would help stop contractors from passing U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Taliban in Afghanistan and other U.S. enemies through payoffs to warlords and insurgents.
Collins said the Homeland Security committee plans to examine wartime contracting at a hearing on Sept. 21, focusing on how federal contract dollars end up “making it into enemy hands.”
Ayotte and Brown, both members of the Senate Armed Service Committee, have renewed their call for passage of the legislation in the wake of a Sept. 1 report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting, which found that at least $31 billion intended to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been lost over the past 10 years through payoffs, lax oversight, and outright fraud.
Some provisions of the Ayotte-Brown legislation were included in the defense authorization bill approved by the committee in June, but the senators say more needs to be done.
“It is shocking and troubling that taxpayer dollars may have ended up in the hands of those we are fighting against in Afghanistan,” Collins said in a statement, adding that U.S. officials need better tools to help them police contracts.
“How well we execute wartime contracting helps determine how well we build the peace,” Collins said.

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