In case Mr. Coburn and Mr. Issa have forgotten, I'd like to remind them about one example of such waste that has been bothering me for a long time:
Audit: U.S. lost track of $9 billion in Iraq funds
January 20, 2005
Nearly $9 billion of money spent on Iraqi reconstruction is unaccounted for because of inefficiencies and bad management, according to a watchdog report published Sunday.
An inspector general's report said the U.S.-led administration that ran Iraq until June 2004 is unable to account for the funds.
"Severe inefficiencies and poor management" by the Coalition Provisional Authority has left auditors with no guarantee the money was properly used," the report said.
The $8.8 billion was reported to have been spent on salaries, operating and capital expenditures, and reconstruction projects between October 2003 and June 2004, Bowen's report concluded.
The money came from revenues from the United Nations' former oil-for-food program, oil sales and seized assets -- all Iraqi money. The audit did not examine the use of U.S. funds appropriated for reconstruction.
Auditors were unable to verify that the Iraqi money was spent for its intended purpose. In one case, they raised the possibility that thousands of "ghost employees" were on an unnamed ministry's payroll.
"CPA staff identified at one ministry that although 8,206 guards were on the payroll, only 602 guards could be validated," the audit report states. "Consequently, there was no assurance funds were not provided for ghost employees."
I'm not holding my breath.