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Quote of the Day:
"The war against illegal plunder has been fought since the beginning of the world. But how is... legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay ... If such a law is not abolished immediately it will spread, multiply and develop into a system."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Subject: NEW CAMPAIGN -- Control Spending Through Accountability
Big government prospers through failure. Each new failure is used to justify more spending and new powers. Wasteful spending in Iraq is the latest example. One way to change this is to hold government accountable. A new bill in Congress seeks to provide some of the needed accountability. Please support it.
This is Senate Resolution 437, sponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.
This resolution would establish a special committee to investigate spending in Iraq. Something similar, the Truman Committee, was able to save an estimated $15 billion (in 1940s dollars!) during World War II. Here are some of the reasons we need the same thing for Iraq . . .
* Before the invasion Halliburton executives met with the the staff of their former CEO, Vice President Dick Cheney. Did Halliburton get special consideration from their former boss? It sure looks like it. According to GlobalPolicy.org, the Government Accountability Office found that "Pentagon officials had broken competitive contracting requirements and overruled objections from an army lawyer to grant the first Iraq oil-related work order to Halliburton." Many contracts were awarded to Halliburton and other firms without competitive bidding.
* Halliburton and other companies were also awarded "cost-plus" contracts. This means that taxpayers cover ALL of their costs, no matter how high, plus a guaranteed profit. So if a brand-new truck gets a flat tire, they could torch the truck and have the taxpayers buy a new one for them. Such contracts provide no incentives to economize.
* KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, provided U.S. troops with water containing fecal matter and other toxins. The troops used the water to wash clothes, shower, and brush their teeth.
* After auditors discovered that KBR over-billed the Army by $263 million on its Restore Iraqi Oil contract, the Army reimbursed KBR all but $10 million of it anyway.
* An Army Corps of Engineers official who spoke out against a no-bid contract to Halliburton, was demoted for her remarks.
* Construction firm Parsons Inc. was awarded $200 million to build 142 health clinics, but completed only twenty.
* A 22 year old CEO got a $300 million contract to supply ammunition to Afghani troops. He provided 40-year-old Chinese cartridges that were illegal, obsolete, and unusable.
Links to these and other outrages can be found here.
None of the above has caused anyone to be disciplined, fired, or prosecuted.
We need another Truman Committee. As Keith Ashdown put it, "If contractors knew that they could be called before a Congressional committee of some stature, be publicly embarrassed and have their career destroyed, it could be a powerful deterrent to corruption."
Sadly, Senate Republicans have defeated several attempts to create such a committee. Every Democrat supports S.R. 437, but that's not enough to beat a Republican filibuster. The support of nine Republicans is needed. We hope to create those nine Republican votes by applying pressure to pass S.R. 437.
All Senators, Republican and Democrat, should be encouraged to support S.R. 437. Please send them a message now.
If you have one or more Republican Senator/s please use your personal comments to make one or more of the following arguments . . .
* S.R. 437 will support the troops by making sure they receive quality services from private contractors. This concept is especially important for persuading Republican politicians to support this committee. They need to back-up their concern for the the troops with real action.
* Republican Senators will be strengthened, not weakened, if they show the public they're willing to criticize the Bush Administration's contracting policies.
* Providing the Iraqi people with quality services could help to quell the insurgency.
* You work hard to pay your taxes. You don't want your money squandered, especially by Republicans who pretend to be fiscal conservatives.
If you can, please also help us grow by doing one of the following . . .
* Start a monthly credit card pledge. It could be as low as a few cents per day -- $3, $5, $10, $15, $25, or $35 per month. Or, . . .
* Help us earn a $1,000 matching contribution from DC Downsizer James Marquart. You can do so by making a one-time donation of $100 or more -- your contribution will be worth $200 to us. So far this month, four people have done so. Or, . . .
* Help us with whatever size contribution you can afford.
Your contribution is our budget. Your investment is our expansion. You can contribute here.
Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army. And look below my signature to see how to listen to me on the Gary Nolan show tonight.
P.S. I will be Gary Nolan's guest today (Wednesday) on The Eagle, 93.9 FM Talk in Columbia, Missouri just after 5:00 PM Central time (6:00 PM Eastern, 4:00 PM Mountain, 3:00 PM Pacific). To listen outside of Missouri, go to www.theeagle939.com
Then, click on "Listen Now" in the top right corner of the page (right above the mugs of Beck and O'Reilly). The call-in number for the show is 573-874-9390.