Wednesday, January 19, 2005
In 2004 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Inspector Generals (IG) in various departments of the federal government issued reports revealing fraud, mismanagement and corruption. Here is my list of the Bush administration's Ten Most Outrageous Scandals thus far uncovered by government investigators:
1. Halliburton's Corruption. Nine different reports compiled by the GAO, the Coalition Provisional Authority's IG and the Defense Contract Audit Agency faulted Halliburton's performance in Iraq, where it has been awarded more than $10 billion in U.S. contracts. The government investigators cited, among other things, significant cost overruns, the overcharging of the Defense Department (and taxpayers) by $61 million, illegal kickbacks, failure to police subcontractors' billing and unauthorized expenses at the Kuwait Hilton Hotel. The list of abuses will likely get longer in 2005, as multiple criminal investigations into Halliburton's work pick up steam.
2. Iraq's Decline. In June 2004 the GAO provided a bleak assessment of Iraq after 14 months of U.S. military occupation, documenting that in critical areas like security, electricity and the judicial system Iraq is worse off now than it was before the war.
7. Government-wide Accounting Problems. In December the GAO reported that the federal government's accounting practices are unreliable and might not meet widely accepted accounting standards. The report gives the lie to GOP claims that it is a sound steward of taxpayer money.
8. Sex Education Misinformation. A report that comes to us thanks to Rep. Henry Waxman revealed that most of the government-funded abstinence-only sex education programs were giving students false information. One curriculum rejects "the popular claim that condoms help prevent the spread of STDs [sexually transmitted diseases]" because it "is not supported by the data."
9. CAPPS II's Failures. In February the GAO uncovered significant gaps in privacy protections in the administration's passenger profiling program developed by the Transportation Security Administration. The Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II) stored personal information in passengers' profiles, provided inadequate appeals procedures and failed to safeguard the accuracy of its databases.