Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Republican Systemic Corruption

This is the kind of issue that the Oversight Congress will be investigating starting next January rather than concentrating on impeachment. The cronyism in contracting that has been the Republican hallmark in defense spending in general, in Iraq in particular, in education, in faith-based initatives, in post-Katrina reconstruction (such as it is) and in energy research will come back to haunt the Lying, Spying, Corruption, Incompetence and Indolence Administration and its supine non-overseers in the formerly Republican Congress.


Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats will do well always and everywhere to leave the manifold, manifest and miserable impeachable offenses of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld alone, and concentrate on the criminal violations of the Republican funding machine instead. That will leave the Bushies twisting slowly, slowly in the wind, a posture for which their intellectual laziness well suits them.

Administrative Costs High in Iraq
Oct 25, 2006 - 1:16am
By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Overhead costs ate up about a third of five major reconstruction projects in Iraq, according to a government audit.

The audit by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found the administrative costs _ including transportation, mobilization, administration, personnel support and security _ ranged from 11 percent to 55 percent at the projects, consuming $460 million of the $1.3 billion spent.

The report suggested that some of the costs may be underestimated because the government did not consistently track the administrative amounts or require companies to report them in the same way.

Congress has approved $18.4 billion in reconstruction money for Iraq.

The administrative costs largely occurred between the date the contractors arrived in Iraq to begin the project and the time when substantial work began. Often, the companies were in Iraq for months before they were actually able to begin work on their reconstruction project, said Jim Mitchell, a spokesman for the reconstruction oversight agency.

Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root accrued the highest percentage of overhead costs _ billing the government for $163 million, or 55 percent of its total contract cost, the audit found. Parsons Iraq Joint Venture, a second company, had overhead costs equaling nearly $134 million, or 43 percent of its total project cost.

Parsons Delaware, in two different projects, received 35 percent and 17 percent in administrative costs, or $108 million and $41.6 million respectively. The fifth project detailed in the audit was with Lucent, which received nearly $15 million in overhead costs, or 11 percent of the total project amount.

Poor planning by the government contributed to the KBR costs, the audit said. And it also noted that the 11 percent figure for Lucent was probably underestimated.

The Iraq reconstruction audits have routinely found significant problems with contracting and building in the country, ranging from alleged fraud to lack of oversight. They have also noted that contractors often face significant obstacles and other business problems, particularly with security, in Iraq.

The audit recommended that more specific reporting requirements be adopted for the reconstruction project that would detail the administrative costs and that contractors are monitored better. It also recommended that the government plan better to reduce the amount of time contractors spend mobilized for the work before they are actually able to begin the project.

___

On the Net:

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction report: http://www.sigir.mil/reports/pdf/audits/06-028.pdf

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