Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s pushing new legislation to prevent contractors for the U.S. government from stealing millions of dollars from the American taxpayers through fraud. Grassley is offering testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee about war profiteering in Iraq.
Grassley says "I’m going to be fighting to make sure the False Claims Act, which I got updated with legislation 20 years ago, is a part of the solution. My 1986 amendments have helped recover 20-billion dollars that otherwise would have been lost to fraud by government contractors." He says the original legislation on war profiteering dates back to Civil War days but was "gutted" during World War Two and needed to be refreshed.
Grassley says "The amendments that got passed in ’86 empower individual citizens to blow the whistle on fraud, unleashing more eyes and ears to be on the lookout for wrongdoing than is ever possible if we relied just upon government investigators alone to ferret out that fraud." He says the old law again needs updating so it will apply to the war in Iraq as war profiteering is still underway.
Grassley says "An example would be Halliburton and this goes back two or three years, but it’s an example we’re already on top of, and that would be 60-million dollars that we tried to recover for billing for meals that were going to be served that were not served to the military."
He says the False Claims Act was put in place during the Abe Lincoln administration, in the days before the F.B.I. and Secret Service. It was needed because contractors were taking advantage of the U.S. government during the Civil War, selling things like boxes of muskets — boxes which contained only sawdust.