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Chuck Grassley, deficit hawk, targets Pentagon for failure to curb contract waste

May 15, 2019 GMT

One of Capitol Hill’s top waste-watchers says the Defense Department shouldn’t be able to hide behind a faceless bureaucracy when contracts go bad, insisting the Pentagon should track the people involved and expose those accountable for loss and waste.

In his latest commentary, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley called out the Pentagon’s spending, which the Iowa Republican said “continues to blow a hole in the pockets of American taxpayers and put our military readiness at risk.”

The White House has proposed a $718 billion defense budget that military leaders say is a crucial step in reversing “decades of erosion” of the U.S. armed forces.


Mr. Grassley on Wednesday noted a February report released by the department’s inspector general, which found that a contractor has repeatedly overcharged the Defense Logistics Agency for parts, one of a number of contractors who do so.

“There doesn’t seem to be an appetite to fix the obvious problems plaguing the DOD,” Mr. Grassley wrote.

He called for a record of the people involved in reviewing and approving contracts, with greater accountability for those responsible as well as for the Pentagon’s contracting agencies.

Mr. Grassley wrote that while he was pleased with former Defense Secretary James N. Mattis’s attempts to control spending waste at the Pentagon, he has been disappointed so far with the progress of the effort under the leadership of acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan, whom President Trump recently nominated to be the permanent secretary.

“The Pentagon needs to examine its internal processes, root out waste, fraud and abuse, and hold individuals responsible for the appalling misuse of taxpayer money,” Mr. Grassley wrote. “Americans should never have to worry that their hard-earned dollars are lining the pockets of unknown contractors.”