Contractor fraud alleged in Iraq

U.S. Capitol Building


Scott Jagow: Today in Washington, a Senate committee opens hearings on contracting abuse in Iraq. This committee doesn't have a whole lot of power, but its chairman hopes the rest of Congress will be listening very closely. Steve Henn has more.

Steve Henn: Sen. Byron Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota, says examples of waste and fraud in Iraq are too numerous to count.

Sen. Byron Dorgan: You know, in cost-plus contracts, waste doesn't matter to contractors. The more they get to buy, the more money they make. And we've had testimony that brand new $85,000 trucks have been left beside the road to be torched, because they didn't have a wrench to fix a flat tire. And the contractor says, "Doesn't matter. Taxpayer'll pay for this. We'll just buy another truck."

The hearing will feature whistler-blowers who are accusing the defense contractor KBR of double billing the military to run a recreation center in Iraq. Dorgan says this is just one of thousands of examples of wasteful spending that together have cost taxpayers billions.

Dorgan: And I think that, in recent years, we have seen perhaps the greatest waste fraud and abuse this country has ever witnessed.

The Department of Justice declined to join a civil lawsuit against KBR alleging double billing in this case. The company declined to comment.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.


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