TAKE ACTION | Demand an Audit of the Pentagon

For over 20 years, government auditors have been unable to determine where the Pentagon’s money goes.

The Pentagon budget has increased by almost ten percent annually since 2001. Military spending consumes virtually half of the federal government’s discretionary budget. (One out of every two of our tax dollars.) And yet, in a problem going back decades, the Government Accountability Office has been unable to complete a financial audit of the Pentagon due to its shabby bookkeeping.

In 2011, the Department of Defense’s own Inspector General reported “material internal control weaknesses ... that affect the safeguarding of assets, proper use of funds, and impair the prevention and identification of fraud, waste and abuse.”

With automatic spending cuts to domestic programs slated to occur March 1, we need to get the issue of the Pentagon’s bloated spending in the spotlight. The U.S., for instance, currently spends more than the next 20 top militaries of the world combined—five times more than our closest military rival, China.

Representative Barbara Lee of California believes it’s high time we call the Pentagon to account. On February 6, she and 11 co-sponsors (including one Republican), introduced HR 559, the “Audit the Pentagon Act of 2013” for increased transparency and accountability in the defense budget. This bipartisan bill will cut the budget of any federal agency by five percent that does not receive an independent audit for the previous year. To protect benefits for the nation’s veterans, military personnel accounts and the Defense Health Program would be exempt from cuts. As she notes in the “Findings” of HR 559, the Department of Defense—alone of the 24 federal agencies examined by the Treasury Department in its Fiscal Year 2012 “Financial Report of the U.S. Government”—“ lacked any auditable reporting or accounting available for independent review.”

“The American people want some basic measure of accountability in the way the Pentagon spends tax dollars,” said Congresswoman Lee stated February. “The Department of Defense’s refusal to provide an audit is a recipe for financial disaster. As the daughter of a veteran, I grew up believing in the power and patriotism of the U.S. military, but being patriotic does not mean blindly accepting bloated Pentagon spending.”

The Congresswoman continued, “It is time to finally do away with this culture of unlimited spending and absence of accountability at the Pentagon. Especially as our economy is rebounding from the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, this lack of fiscal transparency in the Department of Defense’s budget is unacceptable; we need to turn the billions of waste, fraud, and abuse into investments in job creation.”

Contact Senators Johanns and Fischer and your member of Congress and urge them to support Rep. Lee’s bipartisan bill for a Pentagon audit. With budget cuts to essential domestic programs looming, the Pentagon needs to be held to the same standard the rest of the federal government is subject to. No exceptions.

Contact your federal officials today. Click HERE for Nebraska Elected Officials information.

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