Monday, February 14, 2005

Democratic Policy Committee Investigates the CPA

Everyone else seems to be chipping in while Atrios is out, so I guess it's time for me to do my bit.

Check out the fine work of the Democratic Policy Committee chaired by Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND). The committee is investigating the way the Coalition Provisional Authority handled billions of your tax dollars (and monies in the Development Fund for Iraq that belong to the Iraqi people), a topic that Republicans in congress have chosen not to investigate.

Four individuals are providing testimony before the committee today.

Franklin Willis, who served the CPA as Deputy Senior Advisor for Iraq’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications,and as Senior Aviation Official July - Dec. 2003.

[W]as waste of taxpayer’s and Iraqi DFI [Development Fund for Iraq] dollars what it had to be? Were inefficiencies at a high level inevitably mandated by the circumstances? I would give a firm“No” to both questions.

Click here for coverage of Willis' desription of how the GOP-connected security firm Custer Battles was paid with $2 million in cash stuffed in a gunny sack.

Alan Grayson, an attorney who represents whistleblowers in a civil suit filed against Custer Battles. A suit the Justice Department has declined to join, even though the suit alleges that Custer Battles defrauded the CPA of millions of your tax dollars, because the Department claims the CPA is not an agent of the U.S. government.
I wish that I could tell you that the Bush Administration has done everything it could to detect and punish fraud in Iraq. If I said that to you, though, I would be lying. In our case, the Bush Administration has not lifted a finger to recover tens of millions of dollars that our whistleblowers allege was stolen from the Government.

Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, who demolishes the DOJ's rationale.
The rhetorical argument that the Coalition Provisional Authority is not a U.S. federal agency and therefore need not be subject to oversight and increased congressional scrutiny exists only to avoid further accountability and oversight. We believe this debate was settled when the President signed the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Actfor the Reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan on November 6, 2003. The Conference Report accompanying this legislation describes funding the CPA “in its capacity as an entity of the United States government,” and further states that any unused funds “shall be transferred back to this appropriations.”

Don North, a journalist hired to help create the CPA's Iraqi Media Network.
My Iraq journalist friends tell me that CPA’s “Code of Conduct,” which bans “intemperate speech that could incite violence,” is “selective democracy,” similar in spirit if not in effect to censorship by Saddam Hussein. Iraqi journalists also tell me they suspect it was at the urging of CPA that the Iraqi Governing Council banned Al-Jazeera and Al Arabiya satellite news from its news conferences for two weeks last October, which only served to further diminish credibility for the council, already regarded with suspicion by many Iraqis. Since then, Al Arabiya’s office in Baghdad has been closed bythe CPA and the Governing Council.

Click here to read about how the the Iraqi Media Network became an "irrelevant mouthpiece" for the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority.

If you're not outraged by now then you're not paying attention.