Even though the Defense Department as a whole boasts $2.2 trillion in assets, it’s often unable to account for where that money is going. According to a Politico exclusive report, an audit of the Defense Logistics Agency shows that they “failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects.”
That means that the DLA, supporting more than 26,000 civilian and military personnel around the globe, lacks a valid paper trail for its expenses.
This is troubling news for an agency worth $40 billion a year. The DLA is a purchasing agent for the Pentagon, but this audit throws into question the efficacy of their spending. The Department of Defense has a 700 billion dollar annual budget, and President Trump plans to increase that budget in 2018.
If you don’t think it’s a great idea to give an agency notorious for mishandling money more money, you’re not alone. Senator Chuck Grassley has long been vocal about the inexcusable way funds are managed at the DoD. In a 2012 memo on his website, he details wasteful Pentagon spending that’s been happening for a while.
“If I had two words to characterize what I found in those 16 reports [audits], they would be ‘scandalous’ and ‘disgraceful,’” Grassley said in a letter. He also described DoD’s money management as “egregious waste and misconduct.”
Some of what the audit found had insufficient documentation, and some didn’t have any at all. The agency claims that it has what it takes to get a clean audit, but the accounting firm isn’t buying it.
In their report, they write:
“We cannot determine the effect of the lack of sufficient appropriate audit evidence on DLA’s financial statements as a whole,” suggesting that record-keeping this bad must be followed up by more lousy record-keeping. In other words, it’s liable to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.
Whether or not it’s a partisan cause remains to be seen, but the least we can do is call for a “complete and total shutdown…until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
Image provided via Pixbay by Intellectual