Senator Chuck Grassley.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is renewing his criticism of the Department of Defense for “wasting” enormous amounts of money. Grassley, a Republican, says a new audit of Pentagon spending has found hundreds of millions of dollars are unaccounted for.

“That’s a shocking amount of money unaccounted for the taxpayers dollars,” Grassley says. “It oughta’ be a sin but it’s not in this town, I’m sorry to say.” The accounting firm Ernst & Young found that the DOD’s Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects.

Grassley says, “This is only one example of a series of audits within the Defense Department where there is not a complete record of expenditures.” Grassley notes, the accounting firm is of no relation to Iowa Senator Joni Ernst or Iowa Congressman David Young. Across the board, Grassley says the Pentagon’s financial management “is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it’s responsible for.”

“The number-one priority of the federal government is national defense,” Grassley says. “It’s critical we maintain our country’s military readiness but combat readiness can’t be an excuse for wasteful spending.” The report comes at a critical time, Grassley says, since President Trump is proposing a boost in the military budget. Grassley says an audit of Pentagon spending in Afghanistan in 2016 also found hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted.

“The Defense Department is required by law to produce a clean audit and the Department of Defense hasn’t been able to do that,” Grassley says. “I understand it’s the only department in the federal government that hasn’t been able to have what we call a quote-unquote clean audit.” In a statement released Monday, Grassley says: “I think the odds of a successful DoD audit down the road are zero… They are doomed to failure before they ever get started.” Grassley says this latest audit raises new questions about whether the DOD can responsibly manage its $700 billion annual budget, let alone the additional billions President Trump plans to propose this month.