Monday, January 31, 2005

Coalition Provisional Authority Fails the Accountability Test

It was reported today that the Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq was unable to account for $8.8 billion -- yes, that's BILLION -- in assistance money spent in the first year following the US invasion. To put the dollar amounts in perspective, that's more than twice the annual operating budget for the UN and almost $2 billion more than the annual operating budget of the State Department. And while we don't yet know the full extent of the money unaccounted for in the UN Iraq oil-for-food investigation, early reports put it at around $1.7 billion. With apologies to the late Sam Rayburn, "a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money." This revelation is not entirely surprising, given the CPA's reliance on no-bid contracting procedures. But it deserves at least as much scrutiny by Capitol Hill as the investigation of the oil-for-food scandal.

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