Grassley: Defense Department Audits Earn D- Grade, Improvements Needed PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 11:14

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today released a report giving the Defense Department’s inspector general audits a D- grade on a “junkyard dog” index for tracking waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars.

“Audits are the tip of the inspector general’s spear,” Grassley said.  “A good spear always needs a finely honed cutting edge. Right now, the point of that spear is dull.  The best audit weapon is disabled. As a watchdog, I get serious heartburn from degraded audit capabilities.  It puts the taxpayers’ money in harm’s way.  It leaves huge sums of money vulnerable to theft and waste.”

Grassley directed his staff to review all 113 unclassified Defense Department inspector general audits for Fiscal Year 2010.  Under the Grassley analysis, 15 reports are “good to very good.”  But other reports earn more negative assessments for failing to track the tax dollars, taking too long to complete and losing the money trail, and other shortcomings.  The report assigns a D- grade overall to the 113 audits.

The report names nine audit roadblocks that Grassley said stand between lackluster audits and quality audits.  He encouraged the inspector general to dismantle each roadblock.  “The inspector general must find a way to tear down these walls,” Grassley said.  “Otherwise, audit reform and transformation will never happen. My staff will keep reading and evaluating inspector general audits until steady improvement is popping up on the radar screen every day.”

Today’s report is a follow-up to Grassley’s first such oversight review, issued on Sept. 7, 2010.  The initial report evaluated the 113 audit reports issued in FY 2009. It determined that the Defense Department inspector general audit capabilities, which cost the taxpayers about $100 million a year, were gravely impaired.  The inspector general’s office pledged to improve audit quality, a promise Grassley is working to hold the office to fulfill.

Grassley began conducting oversight of the Pentagon in the early 1980s when President Reagan was ramping up the defense budget. A group of defense reformers including Grassley examined the pricing of spare parts and uncovered $750 toilet seats and $695 ashtrays for military aircraft.  As a result of the Inspector General Act of 1978, offices of inspectors general were set up at each federal agency.

In 1986, Grassley authored a major update of the federal False Claims Act, with Rep. Howard Berman of California. Since then, the law has recovered more than $28 billion and deterred billions of dollars in additional fraud against the taxpayers.   It has been used to uncover defense fraud and recently in particular, health care fraud.

Click on the following links to view Grassley’s report released today, his letter to the Defense Department inspector general accompanying the report, and the video and text of a speech delivered on the Senate floor on the report.

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