Has Iraq Fraud Cost Taxpayers Even More Than Previously Believed?

Congressional Committee Explores Contractor Overcharges

Of great interest to whistleblower lawyers is how much suspected fraud and abuse has occurred in Iraq reconstruction contracts. Goverment auditors recently announced that they now believe that Iraq contractor fraud and abuse may be three times greater than the previous estimates–and may affect one out of every six dollars spent in the Iraq reconstruction effort.

The estimate has grown from $3.5 billion to more than $10 billion in “questioned and unsupported costs,” according to the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), which audits Iraq reconstruction contracts and troop support contracts of the Department of Defense and the U.S. military.

We find it sobering that this report is based on audits of only a small amount of the total taxpayer dollars spent on Iraq contracts. Only approximately $57 billion of our government contracts have been audited, and many significant contracts have not been audited.

The DCAA memo acknowledges that the total is probably much greater than the more than $10 billion found to date.

We believe this report shows that there cannot be enough auditors to catch every act of fraud and abuse–and even audits cannot detect every fraud. The American taxpayer will continue to depend on whistleblowers to expose and stop fraud, whether in Iraq contract fraud, Hurricane Katrina relief contract fraud, or in Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

You can read more about how this this report was received by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Congressman Waxman’s committee. That congressional committee is busy this week, with the following schedule:

Full Committee Business Meeting, immediately followed by Full Committee hearing on Reforming the Presidential Library Funding Disclosure Process
Wednesday, February 28, 2007, 10:00 a.m., in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on Goverment Management, Organization, and Procurement hearing on 9/11 Health Effects: Federal Monitoring and Treatment of Residents and Responders
Wednesday, February 28, 2007, 12:00 noon, in 2247 Rayburn House Office Building

POSTPONED: Full Committee hearing to Examine Allegations of Political Interference with Government Climate Change Science (Part II)
This hearing has been postponed. Schedule information will be available shortly.

Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives hearing on The Presidential Records Act
Thursday, March 1, 2007, 2:00 p.m., in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building