Tags: senators afghan audits

Senators Want Afghanistan Reconstruction Czar Out

Friday, 24 September 2010 06:36 AM

Four senators have asked President Obama to remove Arnold Fields as the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, saying a recent government review had found major deficiencies in audits carried out by Fields's office, The Washington Post reports.

Twice in the past 18 months "we have repeatedly raised concerns regarding performance of the SIGAR," wrote Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), chairman of the homeland security subcommittee on contracting oversight, who was joined in the letter by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). SIGAR is the abbreviation for Fields's office.

The act that triggered Thursday's letter was Fields's decision to give a no-bid $95,000 consultant contract to Joseph Schmitz, a former Defense Department inspector general who the senators noted resigned in 2005 amid allegations of misconduct.

"We urge you to act now. We are disappointed by your Administration's ongoing failure to take decisive action to make changes at SIGAR," the senators wrote.

SIGAR spokeswoman Susan Phelan said that Fields was en route to Afghanistan and that she had no direct comment on the senators' letter. Phelan said that Fields had welcomed recommendations made by the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, an independent government organization that carried out the review, and had vowed to implement them by Sept. 30.

Fields, a retired Marine Corps major general, was appointed to the position in June 2008 by President George W. Bush. According to Fields, his organization did not get full funding until July 2009.

In February 2010, the Council of Inspectors General began its review, which Fields initiated, according to SIGAR's Web site. That review "found multiple major deficiencies in SIGAR audits including failure to meet minimum standards for quality control," the senators wrote.

Read the entire story at washingtonpost.com

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Friday, 24 September 2010 06:36 AM
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