Senate Democrats

DEMOCRATS DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR IRAQ CONTRACTING FAILURES

Call for full investigation into politically motivated hiring practices

Washington, DC — Outraged by new reports of rampant cronyism and abuse in the disastrous post-war reconstruction of Iraq, Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin and Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Frank Lautenberg today demanded a full investigation into the hiring practices of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). In the three years of the war, despite widespread reports of rampant abuse, the Do Nothing Republican Congress has steadfastly refused to uphold any of its oversight responsibilities. With Iraq in chaos, our troops at risk, and our nation’s attention diverted from the War on Terror thanks in part to the mismanagement of the incompetence of Bush Republican cronies, Democrats are demanding that the Republican Congress finally start asking tough questions.

Recent press reports have ripped the veil from rampant abuse in the Coalition Provisional Authority, demonstrating the gross negligence that put unqualified or incompetent politically-connected staffers in positions critical to the success of rebuilding Iraq. Qualified applicants with language skills and experience in post-conflict reconstruction were rejected in favor of unqualified cronies with close ties to the Republican Party. In one case, according to Harpers, a twenty-one-year-old former intern to Dick Cheney reportedly emailed home that he was “assisting Iraqis in the management of finances and budgeting for the domestic security forces.” His previous favorite job was reportedly “[his] time as an ice-cream truck driver.” Such gross misconduct in the staffing of the CPA made failure inevitable and put our troops even further at risk, but the Republican Congress has been determined to ignore the problem. For three years, they have refused to hold a single oversight hearing on the war. Democrats think it’s time for a change.

“The Administration’s behavior and gross politicization of staff of the Coalition Provisional Authority has put lives in danger,” Schumer said. “Everyone asks what went wrong in Iraq, well; this is part of the answer. Iraq is now spiraling out of control and it appears that had the Administration hired experienced, intelligent, and dedicated professionals to control the nation after the invasion, Iraq might be in a lot better shape today.”

“We know about Michael Brown and the consequences that had for the people of New Orleans. Now, we find out that the same thing happened in Iraq. And we see the consequences every day,” said Senator Lautenberg. “And the Administration was treating taxpayer funds like funny money.”

Reconstructing Iraq, a daunting challenge under the best of circumstances, became impossible when the Bush Administration put political cronies before the best qualified. With American troops stuck in the civil war in Iraq and the Bush Republicans determined to stay the same failed course, Democrats believe it’s time for a new direction. To ensure our troops have the support they need and our nation has the real security it deserves, Democrats are fighting to finally make Congress do its job and conduct real oversight over the Bush Administration’s gross failures.

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