Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Private/Public Waste

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Private/Public Waste

Article excerpt

AS it developed over the past decade, the practice of contracting out federal-government responsibilities to private firms was seen as a way to trim bureaucratic waste and inefficiency. As it turns out, the practice has bred its own kinds of waste and fraud.

A White House report, prepared for the Office of Management and Budget, details widespread misuse of public monies by companies hired to carry out such government business as environmental cleanup. Lavish entertainment expenses and unreasonably high salaries are among the abuses listed. The loss to the government is in the billions of dollars. Investigators put much of the blame on the shortage of government auditors to monitor contracts and spot illegal use of funds.

That's part of the problem, but the implication that a larger corps of inspectors general would solve everything is flimsy.

It would take a huge army of auditors to keep an adequate eye on all the contracts signed under current procedures. …

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