April 15, 2008

As a rule, Americans probably don't expect government officials to go out of their way to protect waste, fraud and abuse, but then again, the Bush administration includes a special group of people.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department proposed new rules requiring U.S. contractors to report any and all waste, fraud or abuse they run into while doing taxpayer-financed work. Shortly thereafter, someone in the administration -- it's still not altogether clear who -- added an exemption to the rules. Contractors would be required to report problems, but all contractors who do work overseas would be exempt. Given the more than $100 billion in such contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past five years, the exemption didn't make any sense.

For months, the White House remained mum, refusing to explain why the pro-fraud exemption was added, who added it, and what the Bush gang would do about it.

Today, the White House gave in.

Reversing itself after months of criticism, the administration closed the loophole that was quietly slipped last year into a proposed Justice Department crackdown on government contract fraud. [...]

Government policywriters said the original rule was drawn up quickly, and chided the Justice Department for not explicitly making sure that overseas contracts should be included in the crackdown. "It was only after publication of the proposed rule ... that DoJ and other respondents expressed concern about the overseas exemption," the draft states. [...]

A Bush administration official on Monday called the loophole "a drafting error" that happened when policywriters merely cut and pasted a 20-year-old Defense Department regulation into the contracting crackdown.

Yes. Of course. "Drafting errors" that benefit Blackwater and Halliburton subsidiaries work their way into policy regulations all the time. How embarrassing.

Can you help us out?

For 17 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We are currently migrating to Disqus

On May 14, 2022, we started migrating our comments from Insticator back to Disqus. During this transition period, some posts will have Insticator and some Disqus. For more information on the transition, as well as information regarding old C&L accounts, please see this post.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.