Excerpt from: CREDO Action
Over $1 trillion for a fighter jet that’s been in production for over a decade that has yet to see the light of day, and $150 million spent on private villas in Afghanistan for a “handful of staff and visitors” — those are just two examples of the waste, fraud, and abuse that led a story from U.S. News and World Report to call this the “Golden Age of Pentagon Waste.”1
The Department of Defense (DOD) receives more than half of the country’s entire discretionary budget — an astounding $500 billion in taxpayer money per year. But unlike other government agencies, the DOD is the only government agency that cannot be audited, and it has never produced a financial statement that can pass an independent audit.
In the wake of the recent and tragic terrorist attacks in Turkey, Belgium, Pakistan, and Afghanistan it’s more important than ever for elected officials in Washington to realize that the security of Americans can’t be bought with billions in unaccountable taxpayer dollars being thrown at defense contractors and weapons programs that can’t be justified. And when they do that, it comes at the cost of the strategic priorities and programs that will actually keep us safe.
With almost 60 cents of every taxpayer dollar going toward defense spending, it’s a situation that’s ripe for waste and fraud. The Pentagon’s spending deserves the same careful scrutiny as other government programs, and it’s time to do something about it. Fortunately, progressive champion Rep. Barbara Lee has been spearheading legislation in the House of Representatives to audit the Pentagon and impose a fee on any unit that remains unauditable. Sign the petition now and tell Congress to co-sponsor her bill.
The Audit the Pentagon Act would cut by 5 percent the budget of any federal agency that does not produce a financial statement for the previous year that can be audited by an independent auditor.
Auditing the Pentagon already has bipartisan support. When Rep. Barbara Lee introduced her Audit the Pentagon Act of 2015, she had several Republican co-sponsors. And when Rep. Lee introduced the bill in 2014, even Grover Norquist, the conservative founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, was there to voice his support.2
In 2013, the Pentagon’s own Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction revealed that the Defense Department had “lost” at least $8 billion in Iraq and that it was impossible to track how a large portion of the $53 billion the U.S. spent rebuilding the country.3
It is outrageous for the Pentagon to evade the same standards we apply to other programs. This double standard contributes to the Pentagon’s out-of-control budget and culture of waste by sending the clear message that the Department of Defense department won’t be held accountable for its wasteful spending. It’s time for that to end.
- Stand with Rep. Barbara Lee: Tell Rep. Mark E. Amodei to co-sponsor the Audit the Pentagon Act.
- Tell your member of Congress:
“Co-sponsor Rep. Barbara Lee’s Audit the Pentagon Act. Defense and military spending deserve the same scrutiny as other government programs.”
Go to CREDO Action to sign the petition.
Thank you for your activism.
Murshed Zaheed, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
William D. Hartung, “A Golden Age for Pentagon Waste,” U.S. News & World Report, February 3, 2016.
“Bipartisan Coalition Introduces Bill to Bring Greater Transparency and Accountability to Pentagon Spending,” Rep. Barbara Lee.
Neil Gordon, “SIGIR Says “At Least” $8 Billion Lost in Iraq,” Project on Government Oversight, March 8, 2013.
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