Senators Threaten to Scrap Defense Auditor; GAO Report Sounds Alarm

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 5, 2009 | Go to article overview

Senators Threaten to Scrap Defense Auditor; GAO Report Sounds Alarm


Byline: Shaun Waterman, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Some members of Congress are so disturbed by failures and malfeasance described in a recent government report that they are considering removing the agency that audits hundreds of billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts from Pentagon supervision.

One legislator said he felt physically sickened by the report.

The lawmakers were reacting to findings by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, about the Defense Contract Auditing Agency (DCAA).

The agency, which last year was responsible for ensuring that taxpayers got good value for more than a half-trillion dollars in defense contracts, revised audits to curry favor with contractors, promoted a supervisor responsible for such revisions to a top position and rushed through other audits out of fear that the work would be outsourced if employees took too much time, the GAO said.

Unbelievable problems at Def Contrctng Agncy [sic], Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, wrote on her Twitter account just before a recent hearing on the report. Top of my head is about to pop off.

I read a summary of the GAO report last night and quite frankly got sick, said Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, adding that he would not use all his allotted time at the hearing for questions because he was a little bit too upset to go where I really want to go.

Each and every audit that GAO reviewed for this report was out of compliance with auditing standards, said Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The DCAA has a unique role, as a steward of taxpayer dollars, and consequently needs to have independence. It needs to stand up to pressures from both agencies and contractors, he said. Perhaps it's time for us to consider separating DCAA from the Department of Defense and .. making it an independent auditing agency

The flaws identified by the GAO allow contractors to overbill the government in some cases for millions of dollars, said the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

Calling the DCAA's performance completely unacceptable, she noted that when the agency failed, the fallout can cascade throughout the system and ultimately shortchange our troops in the field.

Pentagon officials told the hearing that the GAO investigation examined audits conducted years ago and that a series of remedial measures already had been implemented, including a new oversight committee of all the service comptrollers.

Robert Hale, the undersecretary of defense who serves as the department's comptroller and chief financial officer, and the official to whom the DCAA currently reports, said it might take time for the reforms to show results and argued against any change in the agency's status.

Nonetheless, Ms. Collins declared her frustration - a sentiment widely shared by lawmakers at the hearing.

In one case, DCAA officials had attempted an audit of a major U.S. defense contractor doing reconstruction work in Iraq. The contractor was not named in the report, but a person familiar with the investigation told The Washington Times that it was Parsons Corp., a Pasadena, Calif.-based engineering firm whose work in the past has been criticized as shoddy.

The GAO report said the firm did almost $900 million of U.S. government contracting in 2004, the year the audit started, a quarter-billion dollars worth of it in Iraq.

Two years after the DCAA began a review, in 2006, Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, pledged to investigate all of the $1 billion worth of contracting Parsons had done in Iraq, after evidence emerged about unfinished and substandard work. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Senators Threaten to Scrap Defense Auditor; GAO Report Sounds Alarm
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.