United States Senate

Washington, DC For Immediate Release: Friday, September 21, 2007 Contact: Jessica Smith – 202-228-5185 Adrianne Marsh (McCaskill)—202-228-6253

WEBB, McCASKILL ADVOCATE COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE WARTIME CONTRACTING IN IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN Freshmen Senators Introduce Two Amendments to Improve Accountability in Overseas Contracts
Washington, DC – Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) this week refiled their amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill to establish an independent, bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting modeled after the “Truman Committee” which investigated government waste and fraud during World War II. The two senators have a second amendment which seeks to increase accountability of private security personnel—a measure underscored this week when a private security contractor opened fire on Iraqi citizens. The Webb-McCaskill amendment to establish a Commission on Wartime Contracting was refiled Thursday on behalf of themselves and their seven Democratic freshman colleagues. The measure has attracted the support of 26 co-sponsors. It also has the backing of taxpayer watchdog groups including: the Project on Government Oversight, Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Government Accountability Project, OMBWatch, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “We now have more contractors on the ground in Iraq than we do American troops. This situation is unprecedented in our history and is fraught with legal challenge,” said Senator Webb. “Hundreds of billions of dollars have been appropriated and spent in Iraq alone, resulting in billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. We owe Americans full accountability—this was their money in the form of tax receipts,” continued Webb. “The Commission will be retroactive in terms of investigations and accountability and proactive in terms of providing recommendations on wartime contracting.” “As a former auditor, I’ve seen waste before. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as outrageous as what’s happening in Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of contracting,” said Senator McCaskill. “This commission is an urgent necessity in order to stop the massive mistakes that are costing us billions of dollars. The military will not do this on its own.”

The amendment seeks to: • Establish an independent, bipartisan eight-member Commission on Wartime Contracting to study and investigate federal agency contracting for: (1) the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan; (2) the logistical support of coalition forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom; and (3) the performance of security and intelligence functions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Expand the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction’s (SIGIR’s) authorization beyond Iraq Reconstruction and Relief Funds. In consultation with the Commission, the newly-expanded SIGIR will conduct audits of wartime support contracts for logistics, security, and intelligence functions in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan. The collaborative effort between the Commission and SIGIR will result in specific findings and recommendations to improve inter-agency wartime contracting. Study and investigate the impact of the government’s growing reliance on civilian contractors to perform wartime functions. It will assess the extent of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of wartime contracts, and the extent to which those responsible have been held accountable. The number of contractors (180,000) now exceeds the number of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (156,247).

For a copy of the amendment (No. 2999) filed September 20, visit: http://webb.senate.gov/pdf/contracti2.pdf To view a summary of the Webb-McCaskill Commission on War Contracting, including the latest cosponsors, visit: http://webb.senate.gov/pdf/livecontractingcommision.html To view letters of endorsement, visit: http://webb.senate.gov/pdf/EndorsementLetters.pdf Senators Webb and McCaskill have a second amendment that requires the Department of Defense to strengthen its policies regarding private security contractors, such as Blackwater. The amendment would direct the U.S Department of Defense to develop procedures to: maintain records of private security personnel, register vehicles operated by contractors and review and report all incidents where persons are killed or injured. The amendment also requires that private security personnel are briefed on and understand their obligation to comply with applicable U.S., Iraqi and international laws on the use of force. For a copy of the amendment (No. 2127) filed in July, visit: http://webb.senate.gov/pdf/SecurityContractingFiledAmdt.pdf To view a summary of the Webb-McCaskill amendment on Security Contracting, visit: http://webb.senate.gov/pdf/securitysummary.doc ///