Remember when Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman called for Kofi Annan’s resignation? This is what he said:
“I have arrived at this conclusion because the most extensive fraud in the history of the U.N. occurred on his watch. The world will never be able to learn the full extent of the bribes, kickbacks and under-the-table payments that occurred under the U.N.’s collective nose while Annan is in charge.”
Today, the Los Angeles Times reports on a massive fraud that hits U.S. taxpayers directly. The fraud involves the billions of unaccounted-for dollars spent on reconstructing Iraq.
Both Republicans and Democrats appeared taken aback by the volume of cash sent to Iraq: nearly $12 billion over the course of the U.S. occupation from March 2003 to June 2004, said a report by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), who had reviewed e-mails and documents subpoenaed from the bank.
Rep. Christopher Shays ( R-Conn.), chairman of the House national security subcommittee, criticized the Pentagon’s handling of the money known as the Development Fund for Iraq.
“It’s very clear that we didn’t have systems in place to account” for the funds, he said.
“It doesn’t mean they weren’t spent well, but, given my sense of human temptation, I suspect some of it was, frankly, taken,” Shays said.
“I can’t believe that all this cash just floating around all went perfectly to the right place.”
Prior audits by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, found that more than $8.8 billion in such funds could not be properly accounted for.
Will Senator Coleman, in his role as Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, use the same standard he applied in his investigation on the U.N. scandal to now investigate the improper accounting of billions of dollars that may have been wasted in Iraq?