Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the powerful House oversight committee, has vowed to sniff out the “waste, fraud, and abuse” in the federal government, even if it means holding seven committee hearings a week. On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Issa pledged to identify as much as $200 billion in wasteful spending at the federal level, and an early target list for Congress’ top watchdog includes WikiLeaks, housing giant Fannie Mae, and Food and Drug Administration recalls. However, a top Democrat on the oversight committee, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio.), is calling out Issa on a glaring omission in the chairman’s attack plan: the US’s bloated defense budget.
In a letter sent Tuesday, Kucinich challenged Issa on why he hadn’t pledged to rid the Department of Defense’s $663 billion budget of wasteful spending. Kucinich cited a 2001 Government Accountability Office report, mentioned by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, that found US officials had lost track of $2.3 trillion of DOD spending. Kucinich goes on:
“We have seen dozens of reports of corruption, lost money, and unaccountable transactions in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have seen report of billions of taxpayers dollars in shrink-wrapped packages sent to Iraq for unsupervised distribution. We have seen millions of dollars flow into Afghanistan, and we have seen millions of dollars flow out again into the hands of the family of President Hamid Karzai for purposes such as building luxury villas in Dubai.”
He concludes, “To meet your stated purpose of protecting American taxpayers from waste, fraud, and abuse, it is essential that you examine the Department of Defense and money wasted during unnecessary wars.”