Tester urges colleagues to support accountability on war contractors

On Senate floor, Senator pushes measure creating oversight commission

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Saying Montanans "work too hard to have their tax dollars stolen from them," Senator Jon Tester today urged his colleagues to support an amendment he cosponsored that would establish a Commission on Wartime Contracting.

"This amendment will bring some much needed accountability to the way in which our tax dollars are spent in Iraq and Afghanistan," Tester said in a speech on the Senate Floor this afternoon.  He said that although many contractors are doing a fine job, "those who are deliberately overeating at the taxpayer trough while our troops are fighting and dying in Iraq are nothing short of treasonous."

Tester originally sponsored the amendment with his freshman colleagues elected to the Senate last November.  The measure now has 27 cosponsors.  He said the measure will save American taxpayers billions of dollars.

"According to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, we have squandered $10 billion in Iraq reconstruction funds due to contractor overcharges and unsupported expenses," Tester said.  "That means that one out of every six dollars that is spent on the reconstruction of Iraq is not accounted for."

The eight-member Commission on Wartime Contracting would be an independent, bipartisan commission designed to prevent waste, fraud and abuse by overseeing contractors hired to support the U.S. military and to rebuild war-torn countries.

The Commission would consist of two members appointed by the Senate Majority Leader, one member appointed by Senate Minority Leader, two appointed by the House Speaker, one appointed by House Minority Leader, one appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense and one appointed by the U.S. Secretary of State.

The measure to create a Commission on Wartime Contracting is an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill.